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Ghana students, academics seek removal of Mahatma Gandhi statue from University campus

Mahatma Gandhi statue

Durban, Sep 22 (UITV)- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has long been admired around the globe for the role he played in India’s independence movement. But this month in Ghana – a West African nation that also was once a colonial subject – a group of students and academics have called to pull down a statue of Gandhi that was recently installed on the grounds of the country’s premier university.

The Gandhi statue was gifted by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee during his recent visit to Ghana.

Referring to Gandhi’s early writing where he termed black Africans as “Kaffir”, the group has accused the Indian hero of being “racist” towards Africans.

The campaign has been led by Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, former director of the Institute of African Studies. The students and teachers have also launched an online petition, asking authorities to facilitate “the removal of the statue if Gandhi” at the earliest.

In the petition, officials from the school list numerous instances of Gandhi’s prejudice against native Africans while he worked in South Africa.

“In one text, he calls black Africans the “half-heathen Native.” In 1906, he wrote, “The Boer Government insulted the Indians by classing them with the Kaffirs.” Kaffir is a racial slur used against black South Africans.

“How will the historian teach and explain that Gandhi was uncharitable in his attitude towards the black race and see that we are glorifying him by erecting a statue on our Campus?” wrote a professor in the petition.

However, some worry that the demolition of the statue might cause unnecessary strain on relationship between India and Ghana, which have a long history as allies. A former Ghanaian commissioner to India, Mike Oquaye, was quoted as saying that the statue controversy could lead to a diplomatic rift between the two nations.