Voortrekker Monument willing to take Kruger statue

2015-04-09 09:08
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GALLERY: Protesters chain themselves to Paul Kruger statue

Protesters have chained themselves to the Paul Kruger statue in Pretoria in response to the defacing of the statue. View the pictures here.

Pretoria - Statues should ideally remain where they were originally placed, the Heritage Foundation and Voortrekker Monument and Nature Reserve said on Thursday.

The Voortrekker Monument would be willing to take the Paul Kruger statue but it would not be ideal, said chief conversation officer Cecilia Kruger after reports this week suggested that the monument would be the best place to house the statue.

"We would but we are very adamant that the first prize would be that the statues remain where they were erected in the first place because they are in context, that would be first prize," Kruger told News24.

"We would be willing to take in statues, for example the Paul Kruger statue, even the Rhodes statue if endangered if necessary, but that is not desirable at all."

Statues and monuments not placed at random

Statues were normally erected on a spot where something significant took place, or in a region where someone played an important role, and by removing a statue, "you are disturbing the DNA of that site as such".

"For example, you would be placing the Eiffel Tower in Berlin. You would be disturbing the whole story line. It's like a puzzle, if you start removing pieces you lose the whole picture," Kruger said.

"A lot of these statues were not erected just willy nilly. A lot of thought goes into this as well. You can't change history but by removing monuments you are in a way removing it from people's memory," she said.

"It's also a damning action to history and education, because children today aren't being taught the full history of our country, and without the full story, you lack the full context of what a place is and where it came from."

The Paul Kruger statue for example was on its third location, having first being placed at Princess Park, then Pretoria station and lastly Church Square, where it was moved in 1953.

"The Voortrekker Monument also for example took two to three years to decide just where it should be placed, and construction started in 1936, and following the interruption due to World War II, was completed and inaugurated in 1949."

UCT Rhodes statue to be removed

On Wednesday, the University of Cape Town’s Council ruled that the statue of Cecil John Rhodes, the centre of much debate over the last few weeks, must be removed from the institution’s steps.

On March 27, the university said its Senate had "voted overwhelmingly in favour of recommending to council that the statue of Rhodes be moved when Council holds its special sitting on Wednesday, April 8 2015".

The Council’s decision followed weeks of protest and debate over the statue that began when some activists threw human waste on it.

Students stormed the room where the Council members were meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss the statue. One student said the meeting was not legitimate because there were no black women representatives.

The Council announced that the meeting could not continue after students insisted they were staying and wanted to observe. Council members tried to leave the meeting room but were blocked by shouting students.

One Council member, who was in need of his diabetes medication, was obstructed from leaving the room.

UCT Vice Chancellor Max Price wanted the statue moved and not destroyed, but his suggestion was rejected by some students.

Monuments

The matter sparked defacement of other colonial-era monuments around the country, including a statue of King George VI at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the throwing of green paint on a statue of Paul Kruger in Pretoria.

The EFF has admitted to defacing Kruger’s statue.

Rhodes was a British colonialist, businessman, mining magnate and politician in southern Africa. He founded Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) which was named after him in 1895. Rhodes University is also named after him.




Read more on:    cape town  |  pretoria  |  monuments debate

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