#Rhodesmustfall: out with the old, in with the new

2015-03-29 10:20

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Despite being a hot topic in South Africa right now, the question of what to do with colonial monuments is not new. #Trending looks at what other independent nations have done with their relics from the past.


In 1963, Kenya’s independent government acted swiftly when it came to colonial monuments. Statues of King George V and Lord Delamere were removed, as well as a bronze portrait plaque on the King George VI memorial. In their place, leaders Jomo Kenyatta and the notorious Daniel arap Moi sought to provide new idols for the Kenyan people, with the erection of two Kenyatta statues and the series of Nyayo monuments named after Moi’s philosophy of a Kenya united by nationalism.


The site of arguably the most brutal colonial regime, it is no surprise that postcolonial Congo wanted no trace of the despicable King Leopold II and Henry Morton Stanley. Statues of the men were removed, and like in Kenya, were later replaced by monuments to Mobutu Sese Seko and Laurent Kabila. There is also a monument to Patrice Lumumba, which to this day remains littered with flowers from citizens and tourists.


In 2013, Ukranian citizens confronted their difficult history with Russia by pulling down a mammoth statue of Vladimir Lenin. The statue, which was erected in 1964 in Kharkiv Freedom Square, was difficult for Ukranians to view daily, considering Russia’s recent neo-imperial military action. The country’s interior minister supported the action by citizens, calling Lenin a “bloody communist idol”.


Gazetted as a national monument, the Reiterdenkmal statue was removed in 2013 by police officers. The removal took place in the middle of the night, and was controversial, mainly because the government seemed to change its position on the matter. President Hifikepunye Pohamba at the time said that the statue was an “obstacle to the healing of the nation”.

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