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University of Cape Town students leadership hold a banner in support of Rhodes University
The extraordinary media campaign and mob-bullying tactics
against a statue of Cecil John Rhodes on the campus of
the University of Cape Town undermines education in our country.
Funeral of Cecil Rhodes in Adderley St, Cape Town on 3 April 1902
Bust of Cecil Rhodes, created in 1901 by Sydney March, takes pride of place in the
replica 19th century sitting room at the new Bishop’s Stortford Museum
President Nelson Mandela publically praised the vision and educational
legacy of Cecil John Rhodes.
Mandela Appreciated Rhodes
Nelson Mandela even linked his name with that of Rhodes in his
appreciation for the educational legacy of the Rhodes Trust.
At a speech at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, 16 April 2002, Nelson
Mandela emphasized the need to: "…honour… and respect those who
have worked to build and develop our country… South Africa belongs to
all who live in it, united in our diversity…
we have to harness all of the different strands of our history as we
reconstruct and develop our country. We have to ensure that we live
together in ways that make all South Africans confident that the country
equally belongs to all who live in it."
In throwing human excrement at the Rhodes statue, demonstrators are
not only violating all codes of decency, but also creating a health hazard
In defacing an historic monument these vandals are guilty of a serious
They are also publically demonstrating their ignorance of what Cecil
Rhodes stood for and achieved, and what Nelson Mandela advocated.
Cecil Rhodes was greatly
respected by the Matabele
whose culture he respected.
The sons of King Lobengula
chose to devote themselves
to Rhodes' service.
When, in February 2012, ZANU-PF activists attempted to exhume
Rhodes' remains, the local Chief Masuku and Godfrey Mahachi,
one of the country's foremost archaeologists, strongly opposed this
desecration of an historic monument and tourist attraction.
It is unlikely that most of the hysterical protestors on UCT Campus are
aware of any of this.
A Waste of Time and Energy
That they are merely pawns in a cheap political move, may be the
furthest thing from their minds,
but throwing excrement at statues, covering monuments in black
rubbish bags, and boxing it up are not only meaningless gestures that
will do nothing to improve life or education for anyone, but are a
terrible waste of time and energy.
Especially in an institution which should be dedicated to
furthering education, improving job prospects and
encouraging investments in our country.
Unlike many modern politicians,
Cecil Rhodes never took a salary
when he was Prime Minister
of the Cape (1890-1896).
In fact, rather than have the state build him a house, he built Groote
Schuur (now Genadendal) which he donated to the Cape as a residence
for the Prime Minister and,
with foresight, to be the residence of future Prime Ministers of a united
Rhodes bought up and ensured the protection of the
land on the slopes of Table Mountain, which he
donated to the country, to become Kirstenbosch
National Botanical Gardens
and the Upper Campus of the
University of Cape Town.
Most significantly, he provided for the establishment of the famous
Rhodes Scholarship, which he envisaged to
"render wars impossible and promote the best interest of humanity."
To Render Wars Impossible
In fact, if his vision had been adhered to,
both the First and Second World War could have been avoided.
It was Rhodes' vision to unite the British, German and Dutch people
through education, and exchange student programmes, for the
betterment of humanity and to ensure peace & progress.
The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest international student exchange programme
Rhodes greatly respected the Germans, admired the Kaiser and
provided for German students to be included in the Rhodes Scholarship.
Devoted to World Peace
He believed partnership between the United Kingdom,
the USA and Germany, would ensure world peace.
Rhodes supported teaching Dutch,
as well as English, in the public
schools in the Cape Colony,
and donated money for this cause.
As Prime Minister of the Cape
Colony, he removed the legal
discriminations that English
speakers had imposed on the
Dutch speaking Afrikaaners.
He was a friend and supporter of Jan Hofmeyr,
leader of the Afrikaner Bond.
Rhodes opposed the British annexation of the Transvaal in 1877 and
supported the Boer cause in the First War of Independence (1880-
1881). He also opposed the British invasion of Zululand in 1879.
Rhodes advocated greater self-government
for the Cape Colony,
for Rhodesia, Australia, Canada and New
Zealand and opposed interference from London
in our local affairs.
In this respect it is inaccurate to call Rhodes an imperialist in that he
opposed centralised control and advocated autonomy, decentralisation
and self-government throughout the British Empire.
In 2004, Cecil Rhodes was voted
56th in the SABC Television
Great South Africans.
Some of Rhodes'
quotations that seemed to
have been forgotten are:
"Equal rights for
all civilised men"
"I could never
accept the position
that we should
disqualify a human
being on account of
So, those hooligans who are screaming and creating a stink on campus
over a monument of the man who donated the land and provided the
money for the University of Cape Town,
Ignorance and Ingratitude
and whose Legacy funds their education, are not only demonstrating
crass ingratitude, but abject ignorance on the matters that they are
It seems hypocritical to campaign against Cecil Rhodes,
who never took a Rand out of the public treasury for himself,
but who provided for the education of literally millions
over the last century,
while ignoring the ongoing atrocities and corruptions of Blood Diamond
criminal dictators, like Robert Mugabe, today.
Perhaps a more meaningful demonstration against Cecil Rhodes would
be to refuse to study on a campus that he provided for,
or to benefit from any of the Educational Trusts that he set up.
Those who live in Cape Town would do themselves a favour by visiting
the Rhodes Cottage in Muizenberg and acquainting themselves with
some of the legacy of this farsighted and incredibly influential figure in