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#RhodesMustFall: UCT Removes Statue of Cecil Rhodes

Sydelle Willow Smith | Okayafrica   in 
April 12, 2015

Today, after a month of demonstrations, the statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes was removed from the University of Cape Town. The statue, which was unveiled in 1934 and sits atop UCT’s rugby fields and leads to the university’s iconic Jammie steps– became the focus of protests and a countrywide movement after 30-year-old political science student Chumani Maxwele threw human excrement on the monument in a call for it to be taken down. “As black students we are disgusted by the fact that this statue still stands here today as it is a symbol of white supremacy,” Maxwele told the Cape Argus. “How we can be living in a time of transformation when this statue still stands and our hall is named after (Leander Starr) Jameson, who was a brutal lieutenant under Rhodes?”

Earlier this week the student-mobilized Rhodes Must Fall Movement called for a mass meeting to take place on April 9. “The statue is only a single object that represents the colonial narrative of South Africa,” the movement’s Media & Communications Team wrote in a letter. “Its removal thus represents the narrative of decolonisation that has begun in our country.” The meeting, they said, is about joint struggles against oppression. “Oppression in all it’s intersecting forms: racially, economically, physically, sexually, geographically, politically and epistemologically,” they wrote. A day prior to the meeting, UCT’s Council voted in favor of removing the statue.

On Thursday, large crowds gathered at UCT’s upper campus to see Rhodes finally fall.

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