South Africa Erasing Historical Past by Burning Statues

South Africa

South African students and political members are erasing the historical past, by burning and destroying statues representing the country’s history. The latest incident happened in Uitenhage, Port Elizabeth, when members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) set a War memorial statue on fire.

The University of Cape Town has been in the spotlight over the last few weeks, as students protested and demanded the removal of the Cecil John Rhodes statue and to change the name of the campus. The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) supports the removal of this statue, and a Senate has now approved the removal of the Rhodes statue, although the name change will not happen.

Cecil John Rhodes was indeed a part of the South African history. Without the knowledge, wealth and political insight Rhodes gave toward turning the country into a prosperous country, it would not have been steeped in history. The students selected to forget that South Africa was a barbaric and wild place, and it was the insight of Rhodes that helped shape the lives of many generations to gain a decent education.

The participation of destroying the historical past of South Africa and rewriting a new history continues as statues around the country are destroyed. The statue of King George V has been defaced by the students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. “End white privilege” was written on a blanket draped over the statue, after angry students splashed white paint on the statue. The British Empire colonized South Africa while under the rule of King George V.

The latest attack by students and politicians, is to remove the statue of Paul Kruger situated in Church Square, Tshwane. Kruger was president of South Africa from 1883 to 1900. The Mayor of Tshwane has endorsed the call by the ANCYL for the removal of another historical statue. The EFF wants all historical figures from Louis Botha, to Queen Victoria removed, and has called upon the ANC government to implement this action.

The ANCYL believe that the removal of the Kruger statue will have a positive contribution toward the identity of a post-apartheid capital city. The EFF have stated, that statues of former prime ministers located at the Union Buildings must be moved and replaced with statues of ANC presidents.

Perhaps the ANC government have already set a precedence by renaming streets and cities. Names of those past leaders who according to students raise temperatures and as some argue are ruthless apartheid rulers must be dismantled. Can the history of South Africa be unwritten, according to students and politicians it can.

People become discontented through lethargy and are ready to march, vandalize and protest. The statues are part of history, and to erase the history does not become effective when only the removal of white statues are targeted. The students and the EFF political party among others, protest that the apartheid leaders, including Rhodes were cruel, oppressive, and all memory of these perpetrators must be erased. The bemoaning of how terrible the white apartheid leaders were continues to outshine the fact that historical black leaders, like King Shaka were cruel, bloodthirsty and wiped out the nomadic tribes in the Vaal area. The fact that the ANC government was classified as a terrorist organization and killed innocent people to gain world recognition. Statues of King Shaka Nelson Mandela and other prominent black people have a history that students do not want to erase.

It is easy to destroy, yet it does take courage to deal with the history and learn from the past. Resorting to violence and destroying white statues is a form of racial protest and does not help with reconciliation. Is the violence and protests by students a generic lack of self-control, or does the devilish action portray the reality of immaturity?

Opinion by Laura Oneale
The Daily Vox
Image Attributes   Wikimedia – Picman

4 Responses to "South Africa Erasing Historical Past by Burning Statues"

  1. Chris Nortje   April 9, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    White Afrikaners still remember their woman and children who died in British concentration camps during the time of Rhodes. Strangely enough, the same Afrikaners managed to live with the Rhodes statue for decades and never called for it’s removal. Why? Because it’s a historical monument, and although Afrikaners have enough reason to hate Rhodes, he features in English South African history.

    English South Africans have been done an injustice. A part of their history has been erased and they have been demonised. The statue of Paul Kruger, who had nothing to do with apartheid by the way, is next. What we’re seeing here is a systematic cultural purge.

    Foreign nationals are being attacked and their businesses are looted. Minorities are being marginalised. White farmers are being slaughtered daily. Government has instructed foreign nationals to sell their property in SA for the sake of “redistribution”. This week Mugabe visited the SA president and they had a good old laugh together about Blaire. The signs are there. SA is going the route of Zim.

    These people are not only ignorant but stupid. White South Africans have rights too. These are our historical figures, whether they like them or not.

  2. African Critic   April 5, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Firstly, I would like to point out that Germany took down statues of Hitler because what he stood for is NOT what Germany stands for today. They therefore cannot be seen to immortalize or celebrate hitler. This is despite the fact that he was partly responsible for possibly the most successfull engineering era in German history. In the same vein, it does make sense to remove statues of people who are part of a convoluted history that we would not like to celebrate. This is not an issue of so called “useless” blacks as the so called “Non racist” above has said. Whether or not we choose to blame apartheid for “everything” we should not celebrate it in any way. So the colonial stuff should be confined to the museums and history books.

    • Henri Le RicheHenri   April 7, 2015 at 2:28 am

      Hitler was removed. So Verwoerd was removed. What does Paul Kruger, dead British soldiers, and a horse monument have to do with this?? The horse monument was damaged. Damn colonists right. There were not horses in South Africa until white people arrived. Does that mean all horses remind some people of Apath-hide??

      During WW2 the Allies set up a special group of men, to protect German history, art and Monuments!! They had a saying. To protect once enemies monuments it’s the highest form of human consciousness. So far Rhodes was smeared with feces under the guise of “black consciousness”…..which is an insult to many a brave black soldiers and normal in people in general what those idiots did.

  3. Sarel vd Merwe   April 4, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    The year 2015 has brought white South Africans to realize the failure of “The Rainbow Nation.” Perhaps it was Jacob Zuma’s failure to come clean regarding the many accusations against him, but more probably it is us simply becoming tired with continuous fingering apartheid as the reason for black incapabilities – that part of our nation that was born with their hand palms upwards – for hand-outs from government, too lazy and selfish and backbone-less to do something for themselves. There is no hope for reconcilliation anymore. In the end it will be a stand down and anarchy – because of the lazyness of our black citizens, kindled by as useless a black dominated government. This comes from a non-racist, but I’m tired of “helpless” black people.


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