Ghana: Gandhi Statue Removed After Student Protest
As soon as the statue was unveiled, lecturers at the university began a petition calling for its removal, citing passages written by Gandhi claiming that Indians were "infinitely superior" to black Africans
A statue of Mahatma Gandhi has been removed from a university in Ghana after complaints that he was racist against black Africans.
According to a report by French news agency AFP, the statue at the prestigious University of Ghana was unveiled two years ago by former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee as a symbol of ties between the two nations.
As soon as the statue was unveiled, lecturers at the university began a petition calling for its removal, citing passages written by Gandhi claiming that Indians were “infinitely superior” to black Africans, the news agency wrote.
The online protest was one of the several on university campuses in Africa and beyond about the enduring symbols of the continent’s colonial past.
Students and lecturers of the university told the news agency that the Gandhi statue on the university’s Legon campus in Accra was removed overnight Tuesday to Wednesday.
The head of language, literature, and drama at the Institute of African Studies, Obadele Kambon, told the news agency that the statue 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,” Kambon 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 news agency quoted a student Adelaide Twum as saying that the move was “long overdue.” “I’m so excited. This has nothing to do with diplomatic ties,” the news agency quoted her as saying.
Another student, Benjamin Mensah told AFP: “It’s a massive win for all Ghanaians because it was constantly reminding us of how inferior we are.”
While the university authorities refused to speak on the issue, an official at Ghana’s foreign affairs ministry told the agency that the matter was internal. “It’s an internal decision by the university,” the news agency quoted the official as saying.
Ghana’s former government had said the statue would be relocated “to avoid the controversy… becoming a distraction from our strong ties of friendship” with India.