A statue of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi has been removed from Ghana’s most prestigious university after complaints that he was racist against black Africans.
India’s former president Pranab Mukherjee unveiled the statue to the global peace icon at the University of Ghana in Accra two years ago as a symbol of ties between the two nations.
But lecturers soon began a petition calling for its removal, citing passages written by Gandhi claiming that Indians were “infinitely superior” to black Africans.
The online protest was one of a number on university campuses in Africa and beyond about the enduring symbols of the continent’s colonial past.
The Gandhi statue on the university’s Legon campus in Accra appeared to have been removed overnight on 11 December to Wednesday, 12 December, 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”.
The university authorities refused to comment while an official at Ghana’s foreign affairs ministry said only: “It’s an internal decision by the university.”
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.
Though Gandhi is more commonly remembered for his non-violent resistance to British colonial rule in his native India, his legacy in Africa is more mixed. He lived and worked as a lawyer in South Africa from 1893 to 1915.