Mahatma Gandhi has fallen in Ghana following a wave of protests by students.
The statue of Gandhi has been removed from Ghana’s most prestigious university just 2 years after being unveiled after complaints that he was racist against black Africans.
No sooner had India’s former president Pranab Mukherjee unveiled Gandhi’s statue at the University of Ghana in Accra as a symbol of ties between the two nations, than petitions from lecturers and students calling for its remove started.
The petitioners cited passages written by Gandhi claiming that Indians were “infinitely superior” to black Africans.
The Gandhi statue on the university’s Legon campus in Accra appeared to have been removed overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, students and lecturers told AFP.
The head of language, literature and drama at the Institute of African Studies, Obadele Kambon, said the removal was an issue of “self-respect”.
“If we show that we have no respect for ourselves and look down on our own heroes and praise others who had no respect for us, then there is an issue,” he said.
“If we indeed don’t show any self respect for our heroes, how can the world respect us? This is victory for black dignity and self-respect. The campaign has paid off.”
The remove will ignite particular interests in Malawi where government plans to erect Gandhi’s statue in the country’s commercial city of Blantyre with similar arguments raised in Ghana.
Though Gandhi, who lived and worked as a lawyer in South Africa from 1893 to 1915, is widely remembered for his non-violent protest against the British colonial rule in his native India, his legacy in Africa and among black people is more mixed.
Malawians against the statue also argue that Gandhi did not contribute anything to Malawi to deserve the recognition when local freedom fights like John Chilembwe are are not elevated with statues.
“I do not see the reason that the City of Blantyre should glorify Mahatma Gandhi either in Malawi development spectrum or Malawi politics, even in the health sector. I feel that there are several Malawians who can be honoured or given a statue,” said social and political commentator Humphrey Mvula.
He said the fact that the Indian Embassy will fund the statue does not justify erecting it in Blantyre but rather it would make sense if it were built at the premises of the embassies.