Gandhi statue kicked out of Ghana’s first university two years after protests

Ismail Akwei December 13, 2018
Gandhi statue pulled down from the University of Ghana -- Photo: Radio Univers

A controversial Mahatma Ghandi statue in the University of Ghana has been pulled down two years after protests by a group of academics and supporters who wanted the statue removed.

The protests started three months after the Indian independence icon’s statue, donated by the Indian government, was unveiled in the main quadrangle of the university’s campus in Accra.

With the hashtag #GandhiMustFall, the protests turned into a movement spearheaded by a former director of the university’s Institute of African Studies (IAS), Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, who described the Indian activist as a racist whose statue had no place in the Ghanaian university.

“At world class universities, even former bastions of slavery, apartheid and white supremacy, statues and other symbols associated with controversial persons have been pulled down or removed,” read the petition signed by thousands of people including professors of the university.

It detailed several writings of Gandhi and speeches that were racist and also his “campaign for the maintenance of the caste system right up to his death”.

“We are of the view that if there should be statues on our campus, then, first and foremost, they should be of African heroes and heroines, who can serve as examples of who we are and what we have achieved as a people,” it added.

Ghana’s government later agreed to relocate the statue from the university campus “to ensure its safety and to avoid the controversy”. The country’s foreign affairs ministry did not state the details of its relocation.

“Acknowledging that human as he was, Mahatma Gandhi may have had his flaws, we must remember that people evolve,” the ministry added at the time.

Detail of the removal of the statue from the university after two years is still unknown and local media report that the university security who pulled down the statue only said they had “received an order from above”.

In October, a court in Malawi halted the erection of another Gandhi statue in the commercial capital after local Gandhi Must Fall protesters filed a lawsuit the statue which is part of a $10 million construction deal with the Indian government.

The protesters gave 18 grounds against the statue which was part of a deal to build a convention centre in Blantyre.

Why Mahatma Gandhi is being called racist?

Widely remembered as an influential revolutionary who played a very important role during India’s struggle for independence from Britain, Mahatma Gandhi expressed resentments towards black people and made racist comments in his writing.

After graduating as a lawyer from the prestigious Inner Temple in London, Gandhi moved to South Africa and served as an expatriate lawyer, representing resident Indian communities in their struggle for civil rights.

He spent 21 years in South Africa and just like other people of colour, he suffered his fair share of discrimination. That, however, did not change his views about black people being inferior.

Here are some of his discriminatory citations including calling black South Africans the racist and derogatory “K” word.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: December 13, 2018


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