The Rhodes Statue Falls: A step in the right direction

Cecil Rhodes was a racist imperialist who thought of whites as the “master race.”

“Rhodes Must Fall” campaign successful

rhodes statue removed 1The University of Cape Town in South Africa removed the statue of Cecil Rhodes, a white supremacist colonialist, in response to the “Rhodes Must Fall” campaign which began in March.

rhodes must fall student proteest 1Protesters cheered as the Rhodes statue was taken down Thursday. The university said that the statue will be stored for “safe keeping.”

The university voted Wednesday to remove the statue. The council said it had asked students, staff and alumni before coming to its decision. “This is exactly how a university should work and we believe it is an example to the country in dealing with heritage issues,” it said.

The “Rhodes Must Fall” campaign began last month when Chumani Maxwele, an activist, spread excrement on the Rhodes statue, demonstrating against the legacy of Rhodes’ racism at the University.

An exploiter of African labor who stole land from indigenous people

The protesters’ campaign have said over the past month that Rhodes was a man “who exploited Black labor and stole land from indigenous people.”

Adekeye AdebajoAdekeye Adebajo, executive director of South Africa’s Centre for Conflict Resolution, said that the protesters’ call to get rid of the statue is “a metaphorical call for the transformation of the university’s curriculum, culture and faculty, which many blacks feel are alienating and still reflect a Eurocentric heritage.”

Rhodes founded the De Beers diamond company which still controls the global diamond trade. As a political leader in southern Africa, he worked to change voting and land ownership laws to disenfranchise Blacks and referred to the whites as the “master race.”

Rhodes:  The more of the world the white race inhabits, the better

He said, “I contend that we are the first race in the world, and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race.”

South Africa has some of the largest disparities in wealth between Blacks and whites in the world.

“Why should we not form a secret society with but one object?” Rhodes once said. “The furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole world under British rule, for the recovery of the United States, for making the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire?”

A step in the direction of toppling neocolonialism and imperialism

The fall of the statue of the racist exploiter should be seen  as one step in the direction of toppling neocolonialism and imperialism in South Africa.

2 thoughts on “The Rhodes Statue Falls: A step in the right direction

  1. I am very, very happy to know that Cecil Rhodes’ statue has been removed from the University of Cape Town.

    I am very happy for three (3) main reasons for the physical removal of Rhodes’statue. First, Rhodes was a white supremacist mass murderer of Africans and is said to have slaughtered an estimated two million Africans in his quest to colonize Africa. Second, I am delighted because the mass movement “Rhodes must Fall” shows once again that the powers that be in South Africa as elsewhere do bow to the organized pressure of ordinary folks who are persistent and clear in the action. Third, I am also happy because the mass movement of students and others many of whom are Africans “Rhodes must Fall” should be expanded globally with chapters in different countries to remove the name of Cecil Rhodes from the Rhodes Scholarship. In this regards mass pressure should be put on Oxford University and its alumni all across the world to remove Rhodes’ name from the scholarship with the explicit intent to shame its recipients and Oxford University of promoting a mass murderer of Africans and white supremacist for many decades now in the corridors of academia.

    However, as welcoming as the news of the physically removal of Cecil Rhodes’ statue from the University of Cape Town is to all of progressive humanity and more so progressive Africans everywhere, we must be very clear that it is only a symbolic act that should have happened much earlier though it is better late than never.

    The bigger challenge is to remove the neocolonialist and white supremacist ideas of Cecil Rhodes from the minds and scholarship of countless Africans who actually justify neocolonialist and imperialist cultural, social, economic and political policies right there in South Africa and perhaps even at the University of Cape Town. Indeed, how many students at the University of Cape Town may be seeking the Rhodes Scholarship even as they may be opposed to Rhodes’ statue on their campus grounds? How many Africans may still see the Rhodes Scholarship as a prestigious academic scholarship even with the knowledge that Rhodes was and is a mass murderer of millions of Africans? How many Africans who are former recipients of the Rhodes Scholarship are still the proud recipients of this scholarship laced in the blood of countless Africans?

    Finally, as a symbolic action, the physical removal of Rhodes’ statue from the University of Cape Town has not removed the neocolonial status of South Africa and South Africans and it certainly has not ended the marginalization and increasing poverty of growing numbers of South Africans in a context where fewer blacks including President Zuma and his cronies are becoming millionaires and billionaires. Africans and South Africans in particular should realize that when they kill other Africans as is the case today they are advancing the neocolonial savagery of Cecil Rhodes. Likewise the sellout government of Zuma should realize that its economic policies of creating more income-wealth inequality between the 1 percent of superrich Africans and European settlers and the rest of the country are also advancing the neocolonial project of the mass murder Cecil Rhodes
    Consequently though we rejoice to see the removal of Rhodes statue as a physical embodiment of white supremacy and imperialism in South Africa we are clear that it is a limited victory. The bigger and more important victory is the emancipation of the minds of Africans including Africa’s leaders from the neocolonial and imperialist ideas of Rhodes’ ‘master race ‘ so enthusiastically embraced by too many Africans on the planet including many who rule African countries.
    Peace if you are willing to fight for it!!!

  2. Pingback: South Africa students at Rhodes University demand name change | JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

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