Ginwala: Rhodes statue should go

2015-03-24 16:02
Dan Calderwood, News24

Dan Calderwood, News24

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Cape Town - Former National Assembly speaker Frene Ginwala believes that a process of consensus and inclusiveness should be used in the debate over colonial symbols.

According to Netwerk24's Philda Essop, Ginwala said she supported University of Cape Town (UCT) students who are calling for the removal of a statue of Cecil John Rhodes on the campus. "He was a conqueror and a racist," she said.

However, she emphasised the importance of inclusiveness, consensus, and viable solutions in addressing the issue.


Ginwala said that these principles, on which the negotiations for a democratic South Africa were based, were once again used shortly after 1994 to remove thousands of symbols of apartheid and colonialism from Parliament.

This process eventually led to a wealth of paintings and statues being stored in a climate-controlled basement, but not all of them were removed immediately. A trustee was appointed for the artworks, and they can be borrowed by any museum or gallery.

She recalled how former president Nelson Mandela asked for advice from the management of Parliament, and responded in the same way in which he approached the negotiation process - that it must be inclusive and not too hasty.


Ginwala started talks with the chief whips of all seven political parties on what to do with the artworks. The opposition parties were made part of the process and we listened to their views and worked on the principle of consensus, she said.

A huge painting of Hendrik Verwoerd initially remained in place, but there was dancing in the hallway the day it came down, she recalled.

The statue of Louis Botha outside Parliament was not discussed because it is not part of the parliamentary precinct, Ginwala said.

Read more on:    uct  |  frene ginwala  |  cape town  |  politics  |  racism  |  monuments debate  |  cecil john rhodes

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