Gandhi, the revolutionary Indian leader, is mostly remembered today as the father of non-violence. However, there is a reason some Black people are not so merry at the mention of his name.
What most people don’t know is that Gandhi lived in Africa for 21 years. According to a book titled “The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire,” Gandhi was a Racist who spent a great deal of time trying to prove to the British rulers that the Indian community in South Africa was superior to native black Africans. He went as far as using “Raw” and “savage” to describe black Africans. Reading that book will definitely be shocking to Black Africans who have been taught to admire Gandhi.
“I venture to point out that both the English and the Indians spring from a common stock, called the Indo-Aryan. … A general belief seems to prevail in the Colony that the Indians are little better, if at all, than savages or the Natives of Africa. Even the children are taught to believe in that manner, with the result that the Indian is being dragged down to the position of a raw Kaffir.”– Excerpt of Gandhi’s open letter to the Natal Parliament in 1893, South Africa.
Two years ago, India’s former president Pranab Mukherjee unveiled the statue to the global peace icon at the University of Ghana in Accra. This was supposed to be a symbol of ties between the two nations, but maybe that was not the right place to put that symbol: A University.
Soon After, as if the reaction was expected, some Professors from Legon campus came out with an online petition asking for the removal of the statue. In the petition, one can see a series of Gandhi’s own writings that expose his racist behavior.
It took 2 years, but the Gandhi statue was finally removed on Tuesday night. What will happen to it? And whose statue will replace Gandhi’s? One sure thing is that the legacy of Gandhi in Africa is “complicated.”
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