Maybe we arrived into 1994 without resolving the hurt of apartheid properly, perhaps there is an armada of Born Free’s who are still waiting to unleash their anger and this just one of those incidents where Mahatma Gandhi was the victim of the Rhodes statue epidemic. – Naufal Khan
Police have confirmed a statue of Indian leader and philosopher Mahatma Gandhi in the Johannesburg CBD has become the latest monument to be defaced this weekend. Ela Gandhi, the 74-year-old granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, was hurt but not surprised by the defacing of the Gandhi statue in Gandhi Square over the weekend.
She said: “People are so intolerant that they can’t respect others. Vandals can’t wipe out our history. “Whether it’s Gandhi or Rhodes, there’s no difference,” she said.
The suspect Molese Maile, 21, was ordered to return to court on 8 May to answer to the charge of malicious damage to property.
He was part of a group who demonstrated near the statue on Saturday with placards reading: “Racist Gandhi must fall”.
This is the latest in a series of protests in South Africa calling for the removal of historic statues.
While the man who led India to independence is widely regarded a man who stood for peace, some South Africans have accused Gandhi of working with the British colonial government to promote racial segregation.
He lived in South Africa for 20 years and campaigned for the rights of Indian people there.
The rest of the South African protesters, who managed to escape, wore caps with the governing African National Congress (ANC) but the party has distanced itself from the incident and condemned the defacing of the statue.
The hashtag #Ghandimustfall (sic) is being circulated on social media in South Africa. Twitter users are quoting articles reporting that as leader of the Natal Indian Congress, he said that Indians were superior to black people and petitioned the colonial government to have a separate entrance for them at the Durban Post office, where they had previously used the entrance reserved for black people.
The police’s Kay Makhubela says one person has been arrested in connection with the defacing of the Gandhi statue.
“The Gandhi statue in Gandhi square was painted with white paint. The 21 year old arrested for the defacing of the Mahatma’s statue was release on R5000 bail following another appearance.
Ela asked: “Where does that psychology stop? If it’s not stopped at this stage and if people continue to support this movement then everyone will suffer.”
The Paul Kruger statue in Church Square, Pretoria, has been cordoned off with barbed wire after being vandalised. Two Nyala armoured cars and three riot-police vehicles have been stationed in the square since Saturday.
EFF members demanding the statue’s removal clashed with Tshwane metro police at the weekend . Stones were thrown and rubber bullets fired.
Sources: TimesLIVE, Dawn