The University of Cape Town (UCT) Senate has backed the removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes from its place of prominence on campus, and the UCT Council is set to take the final decision on Wednesday, but what will happen to it next? RAâ€™EESA PATHER rounds up some of the options that UCT VC Max Price outlined in his hangout with The Daily Vox last month.
1. Turn it around
It might seem a little strange to turn the statue around, but according to UCT vice chancellor Max Price, one view doing the rounds is that Rhodesâ€™ brooding figure should face the universityâ€™s Jameson Hall instead of the wide expanse of Cape Town.
â€œItâ€™s a group that says what Cecil John Rhodes wanted was a university that would be for white people, primarily, that would reflect a colonial project that he had driven, and look what his land and money has achieved: a university which is predominantly black,â€ Price said.
The argument is that the diversity of the university, which Price says is â€œtransforming, not yet transformedâ€ is perhaps a â€œvictory over what he wantedâ€.
But would students sitting on Jameson steps like the idea of being surveyed by Rhodes each day?
2. Auction it off
Going once, going twice, andâ€¦ sold? According to Price, some people have argued that the statue be auctioned off and that the money raised be put towards student financial aid. Someone has already jokingly auctioned the statue off on South Africaâ€™s popular online site Gumtree, but nobody took the sale seriously. Shem.
Would you do Rhodesâ€™ bidding?
3. Take it off campus
Students within the Rhodes Must Fall movement have ardently campaigned for the statueâ€™s removal from campus grounds. Its removal from the university would ensure that â€œstudents who find it hateful would not ever have to confront the statueâ€, Price says. As yet, it is unclear where the statue would be taken if it were to be removed completely.Â ButÂ the statueÂ also forms part of the campusâ€™ history and some people feel it should remain in some capacity, which leads us to…
4. Hide it on campus
Some people have argued that the statue be â€œput into a museum on the campus where itâ€™s sort of hidden and youâ€™d have to go find itâ€, Price explained. This way, it would still be around for those who feel strongly that it should remain, but without the position of prominence that it now commands. But would anyone go looking for it once itâ€™s been tucked away?
5. Put Rhodes in dialogue
Price says that in his personal view, the statue would remain on campus but be moved into a space that is not a â€œpride of placeâ€ as it is now, and where counter-narratives can be created to â€œspeak backâ€ to the statue.
â€œIt should be on the campusâ€¦ but in a place that can be constructed as an educative space, a space of memory, a space where other statues, other narratives can speak back to the statue,â€ Price said.
Instead of trying to â€œbalanceâ€ the statue by putting it across from statues of struggle heroes such as Nelson Mandela or Walter Sisulu â€“ a move that would would imply that they were somehow equal â€“ more abstract sculptures could be created to memorialise the atrocities of Rhodesâ€™ rule, such as the Glenn Grey Act which was a predecessor to the apartheid regimeâ€™s Group Areas Act. This would acknowledge that while Rhodes did donate the land the university stands on, and was a philanthropist, his wealth was built on suffering and injustice.
Do you have any ideas on what should happen to Rhodesâ€™ statue? Share them with us below.