Cecil Rhodes - Cape Town, South Africa

A statue of Cecil Rhodes was removed by the University of Cape Town after a month of protests by students.

Cecil John Rhodes was a British mining magnate and politician in southern Africa who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896.1 He was well known for his white supremacy, colonialism, dispossession and the oppression of black people.

As reported by News24:

“History has revealed Rhodes as power-hungry and greedy, using mercenaries and gangs to evict people from their land down the barrel of a gun. If that didn’t work, there was always bribery and corruption. When he died in 1902, Rhodes was one of the world’s wealthiest men. He had a vast mining empire and had seized more than 8.8 million square kilometres of land through the annexation of present-day Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia."2

The month of protests began when a student, Chumani Maxwele, threw a bucket of human excrement at the statue.3 “Some students in the crowd of hundreds slapped the statue as it came down amid ululating and cries of ‘amandla’ (power), while others splashed red paint on it and wrapped Rhodes’s head in paper.” Some white groups, such as the youth wing of white Afrikaner solidarity group AfriForum, protested what they saw as threats to their heritage.4 The movement initially aimed at toppling the statue gained the name “Rhodes Must Fall” and led to a broader movement to decolonise education in South Africa.5


  1. Cecil Rhodes ↩︎

  2. Rhodes: As divisive in death as in life (news24) ↩︎

  3. Chumani Maxwele ↩︎

  4. Cheers and protests as University of Cape Town removes Cecil Rhodes statue ↩︎

  5. Rhodes Must Fall ↩︎