Rhodes Must Fall campaign gains momentum at UCT

2015-03-23 17:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

University of Cape Town students are demanding that management make public its stance on their calls to have the statue of Cecil John Rhodes destroyed.

They are also demanding that Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price convene an urgent council meeting on Friday to discuss their request to have the statue razed to the ground.

These two demands are contained in a memorandum that the students submitted to the university’s management this afternoon, following a mass meeting. The meeting, he said, was attended by more than 600 people.

Student Representative Council member Ramabina Mahapa said: “The Vice-chancellor should call a special meeting on Friday. We also need management to give us their positions on the matter. Do they want the statue destroyed or what.”

As the campaign to have the statue moved enters its the third week, students have now upped the ante by occupying the Bremner building, the university’s administration block. The occupation began on Friday, and Mahapa said the staff had to use a different building this morning.

Calls for the statue to be destroyed surfaced three weeks ago after a student had tossed the statue with human excrement. They claimed that it represented what Rhodes stood for: racism and white supremacy.

Price said that, personally, he thought the statue should be removed from the centre of the university because it gave the impression that the institution is proud of Rhodes and his achievements.

But Ramabina said Price’s personal opinion was little comfort.

“The VC has given us his personal view, but it is not binding and it doesn’t assist. He can go to council and change his views. They need to show us commitment. We have been talking to them about this for a long time and nothing has happened; we need to know their stance on the issue.”

Students have created a Facebook page called Rhodes Must Fall. They are also driving the campaign through Twitter, under #RhodesMustFall.

The campaign has spilt over to Rhodes University in Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape. Students at Rhodes are calling for management to change the university’s name. They have complained about institutional racism, an alienating culture and lack of transformation.

Last week the students met with Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela and discussed some of the issues.

Student Representative Council president Siyanda Makhubo said, based on that meeting, students would submit a memorandum of demands to management on Wednesday.

“The name change is a serious issue. Rhodes is a symbol of our past. But it looks like the university is not committed and not ready for transformation. Rhodes was a genocidal racist. He exploited the people of Southern Africa,” Makhubo said. The institution’s culture and curriculum were exclusionary in nature.

“We demand curriculum changes; we want to learn about Robert Sobukwe, Steve Bantu Biko, Thabo Mbeki and South Africa’s aspirations.

Last week, Mabizela told City Press that the issue of changing the name had not come before council. He said he would not express his personal opinion because it would compromise him when the matter came up for debate.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.