In South Africa Rhodes statue removed in Cape Town University

UCT's council said the monument, which was taken down in front of cheering protesters, will be stored for "safe keeping".

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play (BBC)
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South Africa's University of Cape Town has removed a statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes, which has been the centre of several protests, BBC reports.

UCT's council said the monument, which was taken down in front of cheering protesters, will be stored for "safe keeping".

Students have reportedly been campaigning for the removal of the 19th Century figure's statue which was unveiled in 1934, even as other monuments to colonial-era leaders have also been recently vandalised.

The "Rhodes Must Fall" campaign began in March after activist Chumani Maxwele smeared excrement on the statue as a protest against Rhodes' racism and its legacy at UCT.

The protesters say that the statue has "great symbolic power" which glorifies someone "who exploited black labour and stole land from indigenous people".

In the wake of the protests, after due consultation with the  university's 30-member council, it was finally agreed that the statue should be taken down, saying it had canvassed the views of students, academic staff, alumni and the public before making its decision.

play (BBC)

 

Meanwhile, the campaign has triggered attacks on other statues around the country seen as representing South Africa's racist past.

This has led to polarising views as some quarters warn against erasing history while crowds of white South Africans rallied at statues of the 19th Century president Paul Kruger in the capital Pretoria, and 17th Century colonialist Jan van Riebeeck in Cape Town, saying they were part of their heritage and should not be targeted.

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