UCT to make final call if #RhodesMustFall

2015-04-08 11:20

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Cape Town – The fate of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes on the University of Cape Town’s upper campus will be decided today.

The institution’s council is set to act on a recommendation by the university’s senate that the statue be moved.

On March 27, the university said that its senate had “voted overwhelmingly in favour of recommending to council that the statue of Cecil Rhodes be moved when council holds its special sitting”, which was happening today.

“The proposal states that the senate recommends that the Rhodes statue be removed from the campus permanently; that it be handed over to the government heritage authorities for safe custody; and that the statue should be boarded up with immediate effect until it is removed from the campus.”

» Protests

The senate’s recommendation followed weeks of protests by UCT students and the #RhodesMustFall campaign on social media.

It was initially sparked by student Chumani Maxwele, who threw human waste over the statue on March 9.

The debate on the presence of colonial-era statues has spread countrywide, providing impetus for a wider debate on transformation and redress in South Africa since the end of apartheid.

Since the statue of Rhodes was targeted, several other statues around the country have drawn the ire of those who felt they should be removed.

Last week, the Economic Freedom Fighters in the Eastern Cape torched the War Memorial statue in Uitenhage’s Market Square, with the party later claiming responsibility for damaging another statue in the area over the weekend, this time dismantling the Horse Memorial in Port Elizabeth.

In Pretoria, the Paul Kruger statue in Church Square was targeted by the EFF over the Easter weekend, with green paint splashed on it.

A protest to save the Kruger statue is currently under way. It is being led by Afrikaans musician Sunette Bridges and the Front National party.

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