One look at the Rhodes Statue, before the fall

2015-03-23 09:32

When UCT students finally woke up from a long state of unconsciousness most of us were happy that it all happened, finally. I was not really happy but relieved. To be quite honest, the relief was not necessarily from calls to take down the statue itself but by the fact that finally, a flame of consciousness was starting to ignite in UCT.  I was relieved that finally, the political train had young black and white passengers from South Africa's most intransigent institution, the least expected to have such. Earlier this year on this very blog i wrote an article about my experience of a new form of subtle racism in one Cape Town suburb. Let me first admit that racism in not unique to Cape Town, not even South Africa itself, it is a global phenomenon that continues to go on with impunity.

The call for the fall of the statue is actually not an event but a continuation of one, a rekindling of an event that Vuyisile Mini, Sol Mahlangu, Biko and others had already started. The Rhodes statue to me is not just a problem but it epitomizes a problem of racial bigotry. it is not a problem but a symptom of an illness in this country. Like UCT students are confronted daily by this Rhodes monument, young South Africans wake up with a daily monument and legacy of apartheid. they are confronted by racism and its legacy in schools, in the workplace and everywhere they go. with them, the monument cannot just easily fall like the Rhodes statue. it is firmly erected and cemented in their lives. our statues of inequality, racial bigotry and all elements of racism are firmly erected.

I went through comments on a Facebook group 'Rhodes Must Fall', i was not even appalled by the number of ridiculously arrogant views of some of the white UCT students on the group because it happens everyday. racism in South Africa goes very deep. in his i write what i Like Steve Biko says that racism can end immediately if white people want it to, its true. we cannot be fighting poverty and inequalities and at the same time be expected to baptize and transform racists with Mandela's rainbow. we don't have that time in our hands. we cant heal from apartheid and be expected to focus on racists at the same time. we are being unfair to ourselves. we must act on racism, harshly.

I do not think this Rhodes statue must be discussed further. it is a monument that has to fall. I must applaud all white and black students from UCT and abroad, including Oxford University who are ensuring that the statue will fall. Those against this call must go fetch the statue on Campus and erect it in the comfort of their museums. We also have more Rhodes statues that must fall. they come in different forms. we still have towns bearing names of murderous apartheid figures. we still have schools named after ruthless apartheid thugs and this must change.

This is not an event but a continuation of one. let us not despair. Let the statue fall!

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