Malawi dwarfs ‘Akafula’ form group, demand recognition

Dwarfs locally known as Akafula have established an Organisation to manage welfare of all ‘little persons’ in the country and ensure authorities recognize their contribution towards national development.

The new institution, Akafula Support Organisation (ASO) has been established by four Zomba-based ‘little people’, Clement Banda, Rodwel Kamenya, Peter Ngwemba and Happiness Tembo with support from a businesswoman and their patron, Annie Fletcher who owns Annie’s Lodges.

Banda currently acting as chairperson told journalists in Blantyre they decided to form the organisation to promote welfare of dwarfs as well as ensure government includes them in national development agendas.

ASO member; We demand recognition
ASO member; We demand recognition

He however bemoaned high level of discrimination against ‘little people’ in the country, arguing “our stature is not a disability’.

“For long time we have been neglected and the authorities seem to care less of our capabilities to contribute to the development of this country. We deserve recognition just like the disabled. We want to be offered equal opportunities like everyone else”.

Banda challenged that dwarfs are the country’s ‘decoration’ therefore deserve respect and recognition.

“Knowledge and height are two different things; Malawi is not poor but lacks knowledge to develop. We feel we have the knowledge which government and other stakeholders can tap-in. We are all God’s equal creation. This Organisation is there to fight for equal rights of Akafula as well as ensure the infrastructural development accommodates the needs of Akafula,” he added.

Fletcher called on well-wishers to support the Organisation and ensure it achieves its objectives.

“I offer them support without discrimination and I thought it wise that if we all come together and support them (Akafula) they can also make meaning contribution to the country’s development. They are part of our history and we can’t just erase them,” said Fletcher.

Addressing a news conference
Addressing a news conference
Members from Akafula Support Organisation
Members from Akafula Support Organisation

ASO has since called on people who look after dwarfs to join the institution as well as well-wishers to support its operations. The Organisation can be reached through the following mobile numbers 0997018855, 0999957608 and 0995640586.

Clement Banda is 28 years-old, Rodwel Kamenya is an 18 years-old Bilira Secondary School form-two student, Peter Ngwemba 34 (a fisherman by profession), is married and has a four-years-old girl and Happiness Tembo is a married woman.

“Dwarf” refers to a person with one of several varieties of a specific medical or genetic condition called dwarfism. A dwarf has disproportion of body parts. This is generally caused by a genetic or nutritional disability. Any adult human below the height of 4’10” (147 cm) is considered a dwarf.

With reference to legends or folklore, a dwarf (Kafula) is considered a legendary creature resembling a tiny old man, who lives in the depths of the earth and guards buried treasure.

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