#RhodesMustFall. I’ve heard a lot about the issue, but I’ve deliberately delayed coming to an opinion about the UCT statue of Cecil John Rhodes. While I’m late in expressing my thoughts, here they are:
Rhodes Must Fall.
There should be no question about it – the statue must be taken down. The putrid aftertaste of racial imperialism still lingers on all our tongues, and Rhodes was one of its most formidable champions. Because of the philosophies of men and women like him, we as South Africans still cannot fully trust each other to this day. Because of the spirit they infused into this land and our peoples, each of us – regardless of colour, culture, or creed – do not yet live in the peace and unity we deserve. What better a way to express rejection and contempt for these ideals than to dismantle the monuments built in honour of those that held them?
It’s tempting to take this further and say that all institutions that bear testament to the Rhodes’ legacy should be abandoned and done away with completely, but the fact that UCT (built on land donated by Co Rhodes), Rhodes University, and the Mandela-Rhodes foundation are slowly but surely starting to serve and empower southern Africans from different walks of life is good enough. My hope is that were the man to come back to life and see the success with which these organisations are diversifying themselves, he would jump straight back into his grave – and turn in it!
That being said, the notion that those institutions – academic, social, economic; whatever – that were created with prejudiced intentions are still and will continue to be our best and brightest should for us be wholly unacceptable. Our sights should now be set on establishing, developing, and legitimising more of our own democratically-minded academies, organisations, and corporations – all of which should be founded on our principles of unity in diversity, be infused with our spirit of uBuntu, and be a worldwide reflection of our surpassing excellence.
For now however, let’s sort that statue. I urge any and all in the Mother City – especially if you call me a friend – to support its removal. Yes, ‘it’s just a statue’ but let it also be a symbol of the spirits of prejudice and division that hold us back from the South Africa we should live in, and let your support be a sign that you are willing & able to stand in solidarity with your people against the injustices of the past, present, and future. It’s something we all need to learn as the people of Mzansi, especially now when the voices of those elders who ushered us into democracy sound like a faint whisper.
Phansi ngoRhodes, phansi.
#SoundsTheCall #PhansiNgoRhodes #OneMzansi