Ghanaian academics and artists are calling for the removal of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue from the University of Ghana due to the social activist’s racism toward Blacks, according to Al Jazeera.
The group wants the statue, which was erected at the University of Ghana in mid-June, to be taken down, citing a series of Gandhi’s own writings during his stay in South Africa between 1893 and 1914.
“How will the historian teach and explain that Gandhi was uncharitable in his attitude toward the Black race and see that we’re glorifying him by erecting a statue on our campus?” Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua, a senior lecturer, wrote in the petition.
The Ghanaian academics also cited several statements made by Gandhi, where during his South African stay he portrayed Indians as superior to Black Africans and referred to them by the racist pejorative word “kaffirs.”
The petitioners further argue that Gandhi actively sided with British colonizers to further downgrade Black South Africans during his stay in the country.
For example, Gandhi wrote the following in one of his writings, which is quoted in the petition:
Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife and, then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.
Last year, protesters in Johannesburg, South Africa, vandalized Gandhi’s statue during an anti-Gandhi protest in which protesters carried placards reading, “Racist Gandhi Must Fall.”
Formerly known as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, he was born in 1869 in Gujarat, Western India, where he grew and went to school. He then moved to the United Kingdom, where he studied law at the Inner Temple, London.
Gandhi later 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 color, Gandhi suffered his fair share of discrimination.
It was in South Africa that Gandhi developed his socio-political leadership skills and shaped his social activism. However, some people accuse him of promoting racism and prejudice toward Black Africans during his stay in South Africa.
In 1915, Gandhi returned to India and joined the Indian National Congress, where he mobilized peasants and urban laborers to protest against excessive taxation and other forms of discrimination.
Gandhi was assassinated in his garden in Delhi, India, in 1948 at the age of 78 while preparing to address a rally.