The student uproar taking place at Rhodes University and at the University of Cape Town (UCT) over the statues of Cecil John Rhodes are indeed interesting and promising that our students and youth in general are now AWAKENING. As pan Africanist activists we support such moves as they challenge the whole concept of white supremacy.
The call for the removal of Cecil John Rhodes statue at Rhodes University and UCT respectively are long overdue. Cecil John Rhodes is nothing but a symbol of colonialism, imperialism and white supremacy. He caused untold pain and suffering to the indigenous African people and stole land and mineral resources from the indigenous people of Africa.
Cecil John Rhodes was a master colonialist who opened floodgates for the plundering of African mineral resources, maiming of African people, exploitation of African workers and stripping naked African people of their cultures, traditions and pride.
The continual honouring of Cecil John Rhodes by keeping his statues in our Universities, naming our Universities after him and awarding bursaries in his name is an insult to the indigenous African people whose oppression and exploitation was founded on this man’s thinking and actions.
Universities are centres of knowledge and therefore cannot continue to maintain and honour Cecil john Rhodes, doing so is tantamount to maintaining white supremacy. The call to remove Rhodes statues at Rhodes University and UCT is supported and must happen NOW!
In light of the above, I hereby propose that Rhodes University be renamed after one of Africa’s finest sons, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, as a sign of commitment to real transformation/ change. It would be a fitting feat that this imperialist be replaced with a revolutionary GIANT of Sobukwe’s caliber and stature.
We call upon all progressive forces and academics to support this call! To Rhodes University Council the message is: “redeem yourselves by doing this one noble act, rename Rhodes University to RM Sobukwe University!”
I can’t wait to do my PhD at the RM Sobukwe University.
By Linda Kwame Ndebele
The writer is a Pan Africanist activist and former President of the Pan Africanist Youth Congress (PAYCO) of Azania. He can be contacted on 0720682881.