Yet another statue has been defaced this past weekend.
The Statue of Indian Liberation figure Mahatma Ghandi was smeared with white paint, in Ghandi Square, Johannesburg.
The suspect, a 21-year-old man has been arrested. It is not clear why he defaced the statue, according to Police Spokesperson Kay Makhubela.The man was charged with malicious damage to property and will appear in court today.
Going forth “Police will patrol areas where statues are and protect the property of the state,” Makubela said.
Mahatma Ghandi’s fight against segregation
Ghandi was a prominent leader of the Indian Independence Movement in a previously British-ruled India. In 1893 he came to South Africa on a year’s contract for an Indian firm in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Despite arriving on a year’s contract, Gandhi spent the next 21 years living in South Africa, and was an activist against the injustice and racial segregation. One of Ghandi’s most popular quotes is “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”
Ghandi was killed on his way to a prayer meeting in Dheli in 1948. Although has been nominated for a Noble Peace Prize five times but has never won the award.
On the other hand, Ghandi is also known for his condescending attitude towards black people which could be the reason why his statue has been defaced. He was quoted at a meeting in Bombay in 1896 saying that Europeans sought to degrade Indians to the level of the “raw kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness”. ‘#GhandiMustFall’ has been a trending topic on social media from this past weekend with people expressing their dislike for the Indian Philosopher.
The defacing of statues has reached momentum after the vandalism and eventual removal of the Cecil Johns Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town.