Tag Archives: Cecil John Rhodes

Public historians, this is your moment!

In the past few weeks, statues of male historic figures in public places in South Africa have been splashed with poo and paint of all hues. It has become a veritable underground movement. Cecil Rhodes’ statue has been removed from the University of Cape Town, but around the country, George V, Louis Botha, General Fick,…

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50 shades of brown: Lessons on racism at UCT

By Dr Shikoh Gitau “Aunty don’t you mean beige?” the small voice interrupted. Her 12-year-old sister added: “You know if they were really white, they would be like this,” pointing at a blank sheet of paper. “And if we were black, we will be like that,” she said, pointing to the well-polished black ceramic glass…

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The problem with #RhodesMustFall

South Africa has been consumed with statues in recent weeks. Statues have become a symbol of all the racial conflict bubbling beneath the surface of the “rainbow nation”. All at once, we agree that we need to talk about race and the colonial and apartheid history but at the same time we are afraid that…

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Beware, the new statues

Dali Tambo’s struggle theme park self-proclaimed “the show business of history” will soon be an expensive blot on the landscape. But about such present-day bronzes our students have had, so far, little to say. Irrespective of the misgivings that some will have regarding Mr Tambo’s R600 million-R700 million boon most, one suspects, will have no fundamental objection…

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Removing Rhodes’ statue would not ‘erase the past’

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” writes George Santayana. In the midst of the argument that the #RhodesMustFall campaign is fuelled by a misguided desire to “erase the past”, it seems to me that it is ironically, but precisely, this argument that is hampered by a deeply short-sighted approach…

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10 useless responses to #RhodesMustFall

By Ntokozo Qwabe As the Rhodes Must Fall movement at the University of Cape Town (UCT) approaches its third week, I thought it necessary to put down the 10 most useless responses people have made to it thus far, and jot down useful counter-responses to them. These counter-responses are collated and developed from real responses…

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The Rhodes statue, erasing the past and importance of memory

The Czech writer Milan Kundera begins his unforgettable novel, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (Perennial Classics, 1999), with the following words: “In February 1948, the Communist leader Klement Gottwald stepped out on the balcony of a Baroque palace in Prague to harangue hundreds of thousands of citizens massed in Old Town Square. That was…

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#RhodesMustFall: ‘Silly, stupid children’

“Silly, stupid children” That’s what some people are calling you on social media. “Silly”, because you had the courage to speak truth to power, demand dignity and recognition for the pain that you feel?   “Silly, stupid children” That’s what some people are calling you on social media. “Stupid”, because you dared to allow your…

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Rhodes, Rancière and the politics of aesthetics

The events surrounding the protests for the removal of the Rhodes statue located at a focal point on the Upper Campus of the University of Cape Town (UCT) has provided me with an opportunity to revisit Jacques Rancière’s influential contemporary argument on the politics of aesthetics. The focus on a statue obviously lends an explicit…

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Take it down

I know someone who — shall we say — passed water on Cecil John Rhodes’ grave in the Matopos Hills in southern Zimbabwe. The National Archives of Zimbabwe in Harare removed its own CJR statue in the 1980s and stuck it behind the building with some rusting tractors. Poor CJR. All he wanted was to…

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