Ghana professors campaign for removal of new Gandhi statue

Ghana professors campaign for removal of new Gandhi statue

Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, who started the campaign asking for the removal of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, from the University of Ghana campus, argued that the Indian independence icon was racist against black people and honoring him set the wrong example for students.

Gandhi, a lawyer, traveled to South Africa in 1893 and stayed for two decades, fighting to expand rights for Indians there.

The statue was gifted to the university by the Indian embassy in June during a visit to the county by India's President Pranab Mukherjee.

Alleging Gandhi as racist against black people, the protesters chanted slogans like "Gandhi Must Fall" and "Gandhi For Come Down". "Some people in India wanted diplomatic relations to be broken in Ghana over the way we sometime back spited them, but caution prevailed and they kept their cool to show that they understand diplomacy and the ups and downs of worldwide relations and today the relationship is a bit better and we look forward to it being better still", he added. He said he immediately sent dozens of racist quotes from Gandhi to the entire faculty.

"If they do not want his statue, then by all means remove it. But I would suggest, very humbly, do not discard the notion of non-violence, of compassion, of Ubuntu, and of respect for fellow human beings, and for nature and the whole of the universe, simply because these were the ideals Gandhi stood for and was assassinated for", she said. "The truth about the South African Gandhi is uncomfortable", Desai said.

But according to a group of academics at the University of Ghana, Gandhi had a "racist identity" and viewed black Africans as "savages" who were happy to live their lives in "indolence and nakedness".

In a petition, which has already earned more than 1,100 signatures, the authors cite a number of quotes from the Indian political figure, wherein he used derogatory terms to reference black Africans.

The Chairman of the Kwabena Nketia Center for Africana Studies, Prof.

"In the longer term, we would like to show the connectedness of various related movements throughout the world for African/Black dignity", he added, citing online campaigns such as#RhodesMustFall, #BlackLivesMatter, #ICantBreathe and #ColinKaepernick's national anthem protest, among others.

A student of the university also alleged that Gandhi was an "unrepentant racist whose contemptuous view of blacks is well documented", the report said.

"We can do the honourable thing by pulling down the statue", the petition says.

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