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Jubilation as South Africa's Cecil Rhodes statue is removed

PROTEST: Some students tudents from Cape Town University deemed a statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes offensive

SOUTH AFRICA'S University of Cape Town (UCT) has removed a statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes that had become the focus of unrest on the university campus.

The monument was taken down in front of cheering protesters, and will be stored for "safe keeping", UCT's council said.

The "Rhodes Must Fall" campaign began in March after activist Chumani Maxwele smeared excrement on the statue as a protest against Rhodes' racism and its legacy at UCT.

Rhodes donated the land on which the university is located, but he is considered by many to be a symbol of the apartheid system that denied basic human rights to black people in South Africa.

The success of this campaign has spurred debate in regards to similar monuments representing South Africa's racist past that could now become the target of protest in South Africa.

"We finally got the white man to sit down and listen to us," said a student who had campaigned for it to be taken down.

There was a mixed crowd watching - with many white academics and students also supporting its removal.

The campaign led to the university's 30-member council voting on Wednesday (April 8) for the statue's removal.

The council defended the decision saying it had investigated the views of students, academic staff, alumni and the public before coming to a conclusion.

"This is exactly how a university should work and we believe is an example to the country in dealing with heritage issues," it added.

Rhodes, who was born in Bishop's Stortford in Hertfordshire, came to South Africa in the late 1800s and made his fortune in the country's diamond mines before moving into politics.

He served as prime minister of the Cape Colony and later founded the southern African territory of Rhodesia, which would later become independent Zimbabwe.

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