http://www.iol.co.za/news/world/rhodes- ... aOzyLWvvqY
London - A group of students at Oriel College in London, a constituent of Oxford University in England, has called for the removal of a Cecil John Rhodes statue.
The statue is over 100 years old and sits on a historical building on the Oriel College campus.
The group, led by Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, son of EFF national chairman Dali Mpofu, was inspired by the successful Rhodes Must Fall campaign which saw a Rhodes statue being removed from the University of Cape Town.
“We will demand greater representation for blacks at the university, removal of colonial iconography on any of its campuses, and a curriculum that is more representative,” Mpofu-Walsh said.
Mpofu-Walsh recently received his Master of Philosophy degree from Oxford University.
History student Annie Teriba, who is also a member of the Rhodes Must Fall movement, said that the Rhodes statue at Oriel College “represents institutional racism”.
“It’s something that students of colour take seriously. It’s a reminder, more than being a statue, that when this university was built it wasn’t built with us in mind, it was built off the back of exploiting labour and the colonial project. It’s something that still gets celebrated in the form of a statue,” she said.
Teriba added that it was problematic to have to walk past such a statue every day. “There’s violence to having to walk past the statue on the way to your lectures… there’s a violence to having to sit with paintings of former slave holders whilst writing your exams,” she said.
On its website, Oriel College responded: “When Cecil Rhodes died in 1902 he left 2 percent of his estate to Oriel College, where he had been a student. His legacy helped to fund the construction of a new building, opened in 1911, which is now grade-2 listed (a historical building). The building frontage included a statue commemorating his benefaction.
“Now, over a century after the building was constructed, Rhodes is thought of very differently. The college draws a clear line between acknowledging the historical fact of Rhodes’s donation and in any way condoning his political views.
“Oriel College is committed to being at the forefront of the drive to make Oxford University more diverse and inclusive of people from all backgrounds.”