Exhuming Rhodes's remains will hurt tourism, Zanu-PF told

2015-03-25 14:38

Cape Town – Zanu-PF youths pushing for Cecil John Rhodes's remains to be exhumed have reportedly been told to abort their plans, as this would hurt Zimbabwe's tourism.

According to Southern Eye, the ruling party's youths wanted Rhodes's grave in the Matopo Hills to be dug up in solidarity with University of Cape Town students who are demanding to have the British imperialist’s statue removed from institution because of its "historic and strategic significance".

Rhodes, 1853-1902, was a British colonialist, businessman, mining magnate, and politician in South Africa. He founded Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) which was named after him in 1895.

The report said Zimbabwe’s state security agents moved in to block the plans, saying the move would not be beneficial to anyone.

Promoting tourism

"We are no longer going ahead with plans to exhume his grave... We were made to understand that this move was not beneficial at a time when the government is busy promoting tourism," one of the youths was quoted as saying.

A New Zimbabwe.com report said on Tuesday that Rhodes's grave was under threat after Zanu-PF activists vowed to force its removal from its place in Matopo Hills.

The report quoted the activists as saying Rhodes’s remains on Zimbabwean soil served no purpose other than being a place his white descendents frequented to adore his land-grabbing exploits.

"We strongly support what is happening in South Africa... We are blacks who believe in amadlozi [forefather].... We cannot stand seeing whites coming from abroad every day to honour and conduct rituals before their ancestor who is here buried on our own land," Zanu-PF activist Zweli Malinga was quoted as saying.

Self-chosen burial place

This is not the first time that supporters of President Robert Mugabe have called for the removal of Rhodes's remains.

War veterans in 2012 pushed for Rhodes's remains to be returned to the UK, blaming them for a lack of rain in the area.

However, Mugabe's officials at the time moved swiftly to block the exhumation, saying Rhodes's legacy was part of the country's history, according to The Telegraph.

The self-chosen burial place of the Oxford-educated mining magnate still attracts thousands of visitors each year, bringing much-needed tourism revenue to the area.

Read more on:    uct  |  zanu-pf  |  cecil john rhodes  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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