Custom Search 1

Students toss faeces at Cecil Rhodes statue in South Africa

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

SOUTH AFRICAN students from the University of Cape Town (UCT) have launched a protest against a statue of white British colonialist Cecil Rhodes by attacking it with excrement in a bid to persuade the authorities to remove it from campus.

The bronze statue, which was erected in 1934, features Rhodes in a seated position and has been subject to much debate and divided the student body.

For some, the statue has been deemed offensive and a tribute to the colonial powers that mark South Africa’s history.

The protest has seen UCT students take to the streets demanding its immediate removal with pickets reading, “Rhodes must fall,” and continuing the protest online via social media.

In the most extreme instance the statue was showered with human faeces, a case that the university is committed to investigating.

The university described the dumping of excrement on the statue as “reprehensible and regrettable”, with authorities condemning it as "despicable" vandalism.

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 matter was discussed at a meeting between the Student Representative Council and university management on Monday (Mar 16) amid on-going protests.

A protester said they're not asking for the statue to be destroyed, but rather placed in a museum.

NOT WANTED: Cecil Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town

Student leader Ramabina Mahapa criticised the university as “Eurocentric” at the meeting a chaired by Crain Soudien, a deputy vice-chancellor of the university.

“We, as black students, as African students, need to be able to identify with the institution,” Mahapa said. “Whose heritage are we preserving?”

Loyiso Nkohla, from the Ses'khona People's Rights movement, who addressed students at the meeting, said they had requested the statue's removal for many years to no avail, and would now approach the Higher Education Minister for help.

Until now, the ruling ANC which led South Africa out of apartheid has stayed quiet on the issue, but the students have won the support of several other political parties including outspoken anti-capitalist Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, the EFF's national spokesman, said Rhodes was a "white supremacist, coloniser and murderer" and a statue of him had no place in democratic South Africa.

The university vice chancellor Max Price has admitted that he would personally like to see the statue removed from the campus.

Price told Eyewitness News: “I completely understand how the statue makes a whole lot of people feel, but I don’t think its airbrushing history, I don’t think the statue should be destroyed.”

The university has said it recognises “divergent views” over the statue and that it is important to debate the matter.

“Rhodes’s imperialist and racist attitude to Africa causes much controversy and resentment today”, said the university, but the educational institution would “probably not have come into existence in 1918” without his land donation.

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.

UCT Students have said that they will continue to picket until Friday (March 20).

Subscribe to The Voice database!

We'd like to keep in touch with you regarding our daily newsletter, Voice competitions, promotions and marketing material and to further increase our reach with The Voice readers.

If interested, please click the below button to complete the subscription form.

We will never sell your data and will keep it safe and secure.

For further details visit our privacy policy.

You have the right to withdraw at any time, by clicking 'Unsubscribe'.

Facebook Comments