Victory for #RhodesMustFall activists

2015-04-08 22:05
(Lauren Hess, News24)

(Lauren Hess, News24)

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Cape Town – After nearly a month of protesting, sit-ins and relentless meetings, the statue of Cecil John Rhodes will finally be removed, University of Cape Town (UCT) Vice Chancellor Max Price announced on Wednesday evening.

The Rhodes Must Fall debate gained momentum in March after UCT students threw faeces on the statue, situated on UCT’s upper campus, protesting against colonial dominance.

On Wednesday evening, students gathered at UCT awaiting the university council's ruling on whether the statue would remain or be removed.

After a nearly two-hour delay the council announced that the statue would be removed on Thursday.

The delay had angered protesting students, who started hitting bins and banging on doors. Students even blocked council members from leaving the meeting as they wanted the matter resolved.

After the announcement, calm was restored and council members were allowed to leave. Price held a brief press conference announcing the council’s decision.

“Today is an important day…” Price started off.

“We're at another turning point. It doesn't look like a time of crisis at the university to me.”

He said: “We've seen a committed student body… and venues were packed with people who care about the university.”

Price said the engagement should be celebrated as it was an important moment in history for the university.

“We witnessed makings of what the university can be,” Price said.

He said the council voted unanimously in favour of the statue's removal.

UCT student representative council president, Ramabina Mahopa, also addressed the media.

He said: “We are happy with the decision, but there is still a long road ahead.”

Mahopa said it was not just about the statue itself but institutional symbolism.

According to Reuters the statue would be removed temporarily, pending an application to Heritage Western Cape for its permanent removal.

The Cecil John Rhodes statue will be removed at 17:00 on Thursday.

Read more on:    uct  |  max price  |  cecil john rhodes  |  cape town  |  education  |  monuments debate

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