Another statue of Cecil John Rhodes could soon be taken down, if protesters in Kimberley have their way.
The colonial-era leader continued to be a divisive figure well over a century after his death and, in 2015, one of his statues which stood inside the University of Cape Town (UCT) main campus was taken down, following protests.
Clock ticks down for divisive monuments
The demand to have such monuments, which many see as reminders of oppression, has been awakened after worldwide protests triggered by the death of African American man, George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement in May.
Historical figures who have had their monuments have come under threat in recent weeks include that of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston, whose statue was toppled over Bristol Harbour, as well as many memorials of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, which have been defaced.
Activists demand removal of Cecil John Rhodes statue
While such protests have largely been quiet in South Africa, especially outside of Kimberley, where activists are demanding the removal of what they view as the symbol of British imperialism.
The statue has been part of the town’s landscape for over 100 years.
“It is a slap on our history, it is a slap on our heritage, it’s a slap on our dignity as Africans because we are continuing to suffer this white supremacist values that are legitimised through the statue of Cecil John Rhodes so we cannot have him staying in Kimberley,” said the convenor of the protest, Thina Nzo as quoted by SABC.
Cecil John Rhodes,ultimate genius of resources looting in Africa who even had a country named after him, is criticized in the country of his birth& his statue is on the verge of being removed from oxford university& yet in mzantsi we relentlessly hold on to Rhodes university name pic.twitter.com/5t5JUm33Qs
— somadodafikeni (@somadodafikeni) June 12, 2020
It is in the United Kingdom where most of these protests have taken place, with several war memorials catching smoke.
This has sparked up clashes between protestors and groups of civilians seeking to preserve the monuments.
Recently, a right-wing group voiced its desire to have a monument dedicated to anti-apartheid activist and South Africa’s first democratically-elected president Nelson Mandela removed.
The statue of the late statesman was erected in 2007 in Parliament Square in London.