The struggle of statues ‘a significant victory’ – Zizi Kodwa

2015-04-10 07:39

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The time of negotiating transformation has gone, it’s now time to demand transformation, says ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.

Speaking at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College Campus where the statue of King George V was defaced last month, Kodwa yesterday addressed students on transformation in South Africa.

Kodwa said while others may undermine the struggle of the statues, to him it was a significant victory.

“Always know that history is not made by kings and queens, but by the people. Like the students in Cape Town did, you need to engage management and tell them that you don’t want the statue of King George V because you do not know who he was. Tell management that there are many [South African kings and queens] that can be used as symbols at the university,” said Kodwa.

He said statues, public art and museums are all symbols of our racist past. “They reflect our painful past. But you need to understand that history is history. We cannot obliterate it. History sometimes includes what we do not like.”

“The struggle of the statues is not an innocent one because statues are generally politically used to reflect what was happening at the time in history,” said Kodwa.

“The #RhodesMustFall campaign or the fact that Rhodes has fallen does not erase history. It is history in the making. We need to preserve this history. I can tell you now that Paul Kruger does not reflect an inclusive society. You need to look at transformation as the real underlying issue here,” he said.

“The time has come that we demand transformation. We can no longer negotiate it. We negotiated about quotas in sports in the past and now one black player is being replaced with another in rugby and cricket.”

Kodwa told the students that how they conduct themselves in their struggle was very important.

“We did not march to Pretoria with guns and demanded freedom. We negotiated it. It was a give and take. The question we need to ask ourselves is how can we achieve radical transformation 21 years into our democracy,” Kodwa said.

He added that the ruling party had the political power to accelerate transformation.

“Our people must embrace our people when they rise against injustices and unjust laws. The responsibility to build this country does not lie in the hands of the likes of Steve Hofmeyr, it’s up to us,” said Kodwa.

He told the students that they were the generation late president Nelson Mandela fought for. “But your struggle needs to be fought within the boundaries of the Constitution,” Kodwa said.

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