Find Better Ways To Depict History, Says South African #RhodesMustFall Activist

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tags: colonialism, racism, British history, memorials, African history, Cecil Rhodes

Statues linked to colonialism and slavery have been defaced or pulled down in the United States, Britain and Belgium amid protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man, after a policeman knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

Ramabani Mahapa, who served as president of the University of Cape Town Students Representative Council and led a 2015 campaign to remove a statue of imperialist tycoon Cecil Rhodes, said he was encouraged by the movements across the world.

“We’ve got to find different ways of educating the public about our history. I don’t think these statues are the right way to go about it - especially given that many of them are about glorifying oppression and racism,” said Mahapa, 28.

“The goal when they were erected was a testament to the attitudes toward race at the time. As the current generation, we have different attitudes and the continued presence of these monuments is problematic.”

A mining magnate, Rhodes was a central figure in Britain’s colonial project in southern Africa, giving his name to Rhodesia, present-day Zimbabwe, and founding the De Beers diamond empire.

He made his fortune from the exploitation of African miners, secured power through bloody imperial wars and paved the way to apartheid with his beliefs and measures on racial segregation.

Read entire article at Reuters

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