Now, King George V statue at UKZN gets defaced

2015-03-27 00:00

THE University of KwaZulu-Natal will discuss the statues on all their campuses after the King George V statue at a Durban campus was defaced on Wednesday.

Students at UKZN’s Howard Campus in Durban defaced the almost 80-year-old statue by splashing it with white paint and draping it with a black cloth reading: “End white privilege”.

The vandalism follows the covering of the head of the Cecil John Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town with faeces and the bid to have the name of Rhodes University changed.

UKZN claimed the action was done without any prior concerns being raised with management at the university.

Spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said they were disappointed by the vandalism. “The University of Kwa­Zulu-Natal confirms that the statute of King George V that stands outside the Howard College Building has been splattered with white paint and graffiti. UKZN is recognised as the most transformed institution in South Africa and we are therefore saddened and disappointed that the protesters chose not to raise any concerns through the proper channels established within UKZN. The university has procedures in place to allow students to hold peaceful and safe protests on issues that concern them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Twitter was abuzz with regular postings of images of the defaced statue as well as students’ mixed reactions to the vandalism.

Kamlan Pather tweeted: “The King George statue has been there for years … why the sudden problem?! Because UKZN are unoriginal sheep and follow UCT once again.”

Sbusiso Khuboni ‏tweeted: “UKZN statue defaced. Somebody needs to stop these students … Also remind them universities are not their homes.”

‏@Yung_btee tweeted: “We want a statue of King Shaka #KingGeorgeMustFall #UkznMustFall #ukzn”

‏@kaapvaal tweeted: “The UKZN students have joined the #RhodesWillFall movement! The statue of King George has been defaced and covered.”

UKZN said it supported the students’ rights to exercise lawful freedom of expression and encouraged open debate and discussion; however, it did not condone any form of unlawful behaviour on the part of students or staff.

The university is set to convene a naming committee meeting to review the status of all statues on all its campuses, and urged all students and staff to exercise restraint and care in all manner of expression in the interim.

The university also confirmed that a case had been opened with the police.


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