Students at the University of Cape Town (UCT) successfully mobilized for the removal of the statue of the British colonialist Cecil John Rhodes. This victory in our view should not be limited to UCT, hence we support the Rhodes Must Fall Oxford’s campaign for the removal of Cecil John Rhodes’ statue in the mother land.
Universities across the world as centers of knowledge production ought to lead society in establishing and upholding social justice. The glorification of a brutal character such as Rhodes is not in line with such an ethos. In fact, Rhodes statue is out right offensive to Africans. This is not so much because of Rhodes’ ideas of the ‘land being more worthy than the natives’. It is rather due to the fact that his legacy forms the daily lived experience of poverty for many black South Africans.
It is Cecil John Rhodes and his friends (among them is Jan Marias whose statue stand tall at our own campus) who played a huge role in the establishment and maintenance of the slave/ migrant labour system in South Africa which laid the foundations for an exploitative and racist economy. In this view the Marikana massacre can be directly linked to Rhodes’ legacy, and thus we find it abhorrent that any institution would want to celebrate such a legacy.
We call upon Oxford University community to listen to Rhodes Must Fall In Oxford and remove the statue of their own imperialist. White supremacy as seen through the remnants and attitudes of colonisation ought to be purged everywhere in the world. So we commend and fully support our comrades in Oxford as they engage in the decolonisation project.
Power to students! #RhodesMustFall