Zimbabwean youths were stopped yesterday from digging up the remains of Cecil Rhodes from his grave in the Matopos Hills, just outside Bulawayo.
The Zanu-PF youths assembled at the party’s Bulawayo offices, from which they intended to go to the hills. They apparently planned to exhume Rhodes’s remains so they could be repatriated to Britain.
But a directive from Zanu-PF headquarters in Harare stopped them in their tracks.
Zweli Malinga, a Zanu-PF youth activist from Masotsha Ndlovu district, where Rhodes is buried, reportedly told NewZimbabwe online: ”We cannot stand seeing whites coming from abroad every day to honour and conduct rituals before their ancestor who is here buried on our own land. The sooner they take [Rhodes] to their own land the better. If they do not we will do it ourselves.”
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe in 2012 blocked attempts by “war veterans” to exhume Rhodes’ remains.
A member of the Zanu-PF politburo, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, said: “We decided to preserve it after independence for historical [reasons].”
The deputy head of communication at the British High Commission in Pretoria, Isabel Potgieter, said it was up to South Africans and Zimbabweans how they handled the Rhodes saga.
“It is not for us to comment. It is for stakeholders in the countries to decide,” she said.
- Protests are continuing at the University of Cape Town, where students are demanding that Rhodes’s statue be removed from the campus.
The Rhodes Must Fall campaign has spread to Kimberley, with calls for a statue of him there to be removed.
Comment boards placed next to the Rhodes statue at UCT were removed after being covered in racist remarks.
Vice-chancellor Max Price said yesterday the comments amounted to hate speech. “This is totally unacceptable and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”
The statue of Rhodes has been a topic of heated protest at the university since student Chumani Maxwele threw faeces at it on March 9.
Price said yesterday that senior management at the university had agreed with him that the statue be moved.
“A proposal for the statue’s future will be made to various bodies this week, including the institutional forum today and the senate on Friday,” he said.
UCT communications manager Pat Lucas said consultations with stakeholders this week would lead to a vote by UCT’s council.
“The proposal will be put forward at these meetings. There is no way of predicting how the council will respond,” she said.
“We are also asking people to present their views by sending an e-mail to [email protected]”
By: Nhlalo Ndaba,Shanaaz Eggington and Kingdom Mabuza