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Oriel College

#RhodesMustFall reaches Oxford University

The #RhodesMustFall protests at the University of Cape Town have just jumped borders. A group of students at Oxford University in the United Kingdom have begun to demonstrate against the Rhodes statue in solidarity with students at UCT.

Students in Rhodes’ home nation aren’t too impressed with the colonialist hovering over their university. Ntokozo Sboh Qwabe, a student from South Africa studying at Oxford, took to Facebook to show that Rhodes isn’t just a problem in South Africa – his legacy is contested all over the world.

“Despite public order police being called to remove us prematurely, nothing could stop us from conveying the message! Rhodes Must Fall everywhere!” Qwabe wrote on Facebook.

Oriel College, which is home to 450 students from “all kinds of schools, backgrounds and countries”, is one of the oldest colleges at Oxford University, which is made up of 38 colleges.

But with Rhodes standing above the doors to Oriel’s entrance, evidently the prestigious college isn’t as welcoming as it likes to think.

“There is no space for symbols of oppression and domination within the gates of learning,” Qwabe wrote on Facebook. “We are in solidarity with students at the University of Cape Town in the struggle against institutional violence.”

– Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

About Raeesa Pather

Raeesa Pather
Ra'eesa Pather has written on race, politics, gender, and arts and culture. She also dabbles in photography.

11 comments

  1. At Rhodes University in the 1980s, Cecil Rhodes scarcely figured in the public consciousness. Africans had more recent oppressions to deal with and English-speaking white South Africans, if they thought of him at all, identified him with Zimbabwe which had so recently been known as Rhodesia. Among South Africans, only Afrikaners appeared to recall him,usually in negative terms and associated with the Anglo-Boer War. It is difficult no to think that this has not been whipped up artificially, but that is not to say that it cannot gain momentum nonetheless.

  2. Dave from Cape Town

    The staggering amount of hyperbole in this article is staggering.

    There are seven people in the demo, yet your piece eludes to the entirety of Oriel College, then Oxford University, the UK and even “all over the world”.

    I’m all for the statue being removed from its current site, all for the discussions around race and transformation, but really guys – even here within your own comfortable echo-chamber – get a goddamn grip.

    • AssociateEd

      Hello Dave. Maybe you missed that tiny detail in the intro: “a group of students”. There is no suggestion any where in the story that every student in the UK were now protesting against the statue.

      • Rob from Stellenbosch, near Cape Town

        This is true, but the article says: “Students in Rhodes’ home nation aren’t too impressed with the colonialist hovering over their university…”
        This implies that many students are “not too impressed”, rather than seven students…

        Perhaps if your article mentioned the outrageous, faeces-scattering and thuggish actions of the Cape Town Rent-a-crowd at UCT, it might have appeared more balanced.
        Another aspect of the UCT event is its purely racist underpinning. It was never really about Rhodes; and yet another is the fact that the Oxford student has taken the Rhodes funding, but bites the hand that feeds him. If he were morally true, he would never have accepted the honour.
        All in all, it seems more a ploy towards instant fame (or infamy) via social media – something which would be unattainable anywhere else.

  3. Dave from Cape Town

    (seven)
    “Students in Rhodes’ home nation aren’t too impressed with the colonialist hovering over their university.”

    “Rhodes isn’t just a problem in South Africa – his legacy is contested” (by seven people)

    “all over the world.” (SA and some steps on Oxford High Street)

  4. Ntokozo Qwabe, a South African student so feeble-minded he cannot pass a Cecil Rhodes statue without having his “safe space” violated is the recipient of a Rhodes scholarship. Clearly he does not feel sufficiently “violated” to give up the long-dead mining magnet’s money and depart Oxford’s groves of academe for his home in the hills of Natal. He is perfectly within his rights to squander his time on silly, vexatious, single-issue political campaigns but I trust those carrying out the Rhodes vetting procedures have taken note. It would be a pity if America’s loathsome political correctitude was to replace free, open debate with petty grievance-mongering, identity politics and empty sloganeering.

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