Oxford University weighs in on Rhodes statue saga

UCT will be proposing for the removal of the statue to the Western Cape Heritage Council.

FILE: Students occupied the University of Cape Town's administration buildings, protesting against institutional racism. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Oxford University's Vice Chancellor Andrew Hamilton added his voice to the ongoing discussion around the removal of the Cecil John Rhodes Statue from the University of Cape Town (UCT's) campus.

The university held a debate on campus on Wednesday about the statue which they feel is a symbol of racism and a lack of transformation at the university.

Hamilton said it's an important debate for the university and the country and it's a discussion that should happen.

"Universities are an ideal place and an appropriate place for this debate to take place."

He said it's healthy for students to have robust discussions about history and its place in modern society.

"It's not for me to comment on the place of Rhodes in contemporary South Africa."

LISTEN: _ Vice Chancellor Andrew Hamilton speaks to Keino Kammies_

While Hamilton has chosen not to voice his support or condemnation of the issue, UCT vice chancellor Max Price feels the statue should be removed.

Price said he feels the pain of black students.

"I feel the need to apologise on behalf of the university for the kind of pain they're experiencing for that frustration."


The Department of Arts and Culture also intervened in the debate by saying it doesn't support the violent removal of the statue.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa said, "Consultation has to happen with those who are opposed to that. There is no need for populism or propagating violence."

He said that students have been behaving amicably during their on campus activism by saying the Rhodes Must Fall campaigning is the "most peaceful" he has seen over a period of time.

LISTEN: _ Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa speaks to Keino Kammies_

UCT will be proposing the removal of the statue to the Western Cape Heritage Council who has the final decision in the matter.

A second meeting will be held on Thursday.

Pictures: Masa Kekana/EWN