American students support #RhodesMustFall Campaign

2015-03-26 16:14
A statue of British coloniser Cecil John Rhodes is covered in plastic bags as part of a protest by students and staff of the University of Cape Town. (Rodger Bosch, AFP)

A statue of British coloniser Cecil John Rhodes is covered in plastic bags as part of a protest by students and staff of the University of Cape Town. (Rodger Bosch, AFP)

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Cape Town - The Black Students Union at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, has come out in support of University of Cape Town (UCT) students currently protesting against the continued presence of a statue of Cecil John Rhodes on the UCT campus.

The Rhodes Must Fall Facebook page posted a message of solidarity from students of the Black Student Union at the US university on Thursday.

“We write to express to you our strongest solidarity as you embark in the courageous struggle to take down one of Africa’s biggest enemies, and colonizer, Cecil John Rhodes,” the message read.

“We believe that, when we as Black students and youth organize ourselves in a disciplined manner, the decolonization of our education and the total liberation of our people is inevitable.”

Viva, Black liberation, viva!

The US students also wrote that they were inspired by UCT activists’ occupation of Bremner Hall (renamed Azania Hall by the students). The message adds that the Black Student Union has raised a similar set of demands to the chancellor to address black marginalisation at UC Berkeley.

“Among our demands is the renaming of one of the campus buildings from Barrows Hall (named after another colonial administrator David Prescott Barrows), to one of the icons of Black liberation, Assata Shakur.”

“Viva, Black liberation, viva!” the students said in their closing words.

The campaign to have the Cecil John Rhodes statue moved from UCT’s campus grounds has entered its third week. UCT students have also upped the ante by occupying the Bremner building, the university’s administration block. 

Demands

According to City Press, the students are demanding that management make public its stance on their calls to have the statue destroyed. They are also demanding that Vice Chancellor Dr Max Price convene an urgent council meeting on Friday to discuss their request to have the statue taken down.

Calls for the statue to be destroyed surfaced three weeks ago after a student threw human excrement on the statue. Students claim the statue represented what Rhodes stood for: racism and white supremacy.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Black Student Union at UC Berkeley delivered 10 demands to their chancellor and set a deadline to meet them. Black students reportedly felt oppressed and isolated and wanted the university to increase recruitment of African American students with an improved support system.

Among the demands included renaming a building after Assata Shakur, an African-American activist and former member of the Black Panther Party.

Message of solidarity from our brothers and sisters from the University of California, Berkeley.Amandla!...

Posted by UCT: Rhodes Must Fall on Thursday, 26 March 2015
Read more on:    uct  |  cape town  |  cecil john rhodes  |  monuments debate  |  education

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