Rhodes statue taken to ‘safe location’

2015-04-09 20:55

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Thousands of students and onlookers swamped the University of Cape Town’s upper campus as the statue of Cecil John Rhodes fell – or more accurately, was removed – this afternoon.

The crowd chanted and arms were raised to record the moment on smartphones as the controversial bronze statue was lifted by crane from its perch at around 5:30 pm. In a final display of irreverence, people threw the statue with paint and lashed out at it with fists.

It will be stored for “safe keeping” at a temporary location, the university’s council said.

The institution’s 30-member governing council voted unanimously last night that the statue be removed.

The #RhodesMustFall campaign has triggered much debate and protest at the University of Cape Town, notably after the statue of Rhodes was defecated on March 9.

Protestors say the statue represents institutionalised racism at the university. The campaign has lead a series of demonstrations around the country, including at Rhodes University in Grahamstown and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in Durban.

UCT spokesperson Riana Geldenhuys today said the statue has been taken to a safe location approved by Heritage Western Cape.

She added that they will engage in a public participation process to help determine its final venue.


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