The Gandhi monument in Johannesburg is the latest statue to be defaced by protesters – and a number of other statues across South Africa may face a similar fate.
On Monday (13 April), the Gandhi Monument in Johannesburg became the latest victim to the sweeping trend of statue defacement happening across the country.
According to IOL, a group of people wearing ANC caps defaced the statue with white paint, carrying placards saying “Racist Gandhi must fall”. The ANC has since condemned the attack.
Gandhi had spent his formative years in South Africa as a lawyer, who had secured many legal concessions for the local Indian population in the country.
His work influenced the ANC’s civil rights movement in its early years of struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
Following the taking down of the Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town, there has been a growing call for other colonial-era monuments to be taken down.
The cry has been largely led by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), with other political parties, including the DA and the ANC, warning against brash action.
In an interview with News24, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said that the country’s history could not be destroyed, and attempts to do so would polarise society.
Mantashe took that stance that the call to remove all colonial-era statues was “opportunistic”, “anarchy” and “dangerous”.
“You don’t use a hammer to deal with sensitive issues. You don’t deface statues,” he said.
A number of other prominent South African statues have been put in the crosshairs, including statues at the Union Buildings, which include two former SA prime ministers; General Louis Botha and JBM Hertzog.
In Cape Town, monuments and statues dedicated to colonial icons such as Bartholomeu Dias, Jan Van Riebeeck, Jan Smuts, Queen Victoria and King George and many others remain untouched.
Here is a timeline of the current wave of statues that have been defaced by protesters.
The monument to British colonialist Cecil John Rhodes was the first to be defaced when a UCT student smeared feces on the statue in early March.
The statue was eventually taken down on 9 April.
King George V Statue
The statue of King George the Fifth at the University of KwaZulu Natal was covered in white paint, along with a call to “end white privilege”.
Anglo Boer War Soldier
An Anglo Boer War Soldier statue in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape, was “necklaced” – a car tyre was placed on the statue and set alight.
The Horse Memorial in Port Elizabeth, erected in memory of animals that died during the Anglo-Boer war, was dismantled by protesters.
Paul Kruger Statue
A statue of Paul Kruger in Pretoria’s Church Square was painted green. The area has since been cordoned off.
The statue of Queen Victoria in front of the public library in Nelson Mandela bay was smeared with green paint.
Marthinus Pretorius Statue
Red paint was also flung at the statue of Pretoria founder, Marthinus Pretorius, according to eNCA.
A monument dedicated to Gandhi was defaced with white paint.