University of Cape Town Statement of Solidarity

Revolutionary greetings to RHODES MUST FALL OXFORD.

As UCT Rhodes Must Fall Movement we stand in support of your demand for the immediate removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes, a racist bigot who in 1887 told the House of Assembly in Cape Town that “the native is to be treated as a child and denied the franchise. We must adopt a system of despotism in our relations with the barbarians of South Africa.” It is this belittling denial of Africans’ right to life and human liberties that Rhodes stood for which privileged colonists’ interests and championed the intergenerational transfer of wealth, sustained over centuries.

Therefore, the image of Rhodes invokes the intergenerational agony that black people in Africa and the Diaspora have endured for centuries, and it also represents the toxic collusion between institutions and the nefarious colonial project whose legacy continues today. Rhodes was a capitalist and colonialist par excellence, whose socio-political and economic deals led to forced removals and genocidal acts against indigenous and native peoples in Southern Africa.

He hunted down and killed those who dared stand in his way as he usurped land in Southern Africa as his own property in racist “land grabs”, terrorizing local people with scores of lynchings – which would now be recognized as acts of genocide, supporting the colonial agenda to take by force land and resources that belonged to African people. When Rhodes became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony in 1890 he “implemented laws that would benefit mine and industry owners”, and pushed black people from their lands to make way for industrial development.

Rhodes reduced black people as a race to units of production for exploitative profit. It is this glaring painful legacy that Rhodes invokes, as he was the precursor to the devastating Land Act of 1913, enacted on June 20, 1913, when the “South African native found himself [herself] not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his [/her] birth” as captured by Sol. T. Plaatje in his classic account, “Native Life in South Africa”.

Rhodes Must Fall Everywhere! Izwe Lethu! iAfrica END

To find out more about the Rhodes Must Fall Campaign that started at UCT and inspired the RMFO movement check out their website and Facebook page!