Is it the end of the road for UCT's Rhodes statue?

It’s reported the senate voted 189 to 1 that the statue be removed from campus completely.

FILE: UCT students stand in front of the Rhodes statue on the campus, a black plastic bag over his head. Using the slogan "Rhodes Must Fall" they demanded it be taken down as it represented institutional racism. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The University of Cape Town (UCT) senate voted in favour of the removal of the contentious Cecil John Rhodes statue.

It followed nearly three weeks of protests at the university, where students called for the statue to be removed.

Vice Chancellor Max Price said Friday's senate meeting was a success.

"The senate voted overwhelmingly. I think there were 189 votes in favour, one against and three abstentions to support the removal of the Rhodes statue."

But it will not be removed immediately.

UCT's council and Heritage Western Cape also have to sign off on the decision to remove of the statue.

Earlier lecturer Jacques Rousseau said the senate voted 181 to one that the statue be removed from campus completely.

Head of the Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice at UCT, Alan Hirsch, also tweeted the UCT senate had recommended to university's council that the Rhodes statue be removed from campus.

He called it an historic rupture of note.

The outcome of Friday's meeting will be taken forward to the institution's council, which will then take a decision on the matter by 8 April.

UCT's student representative council (SRC) welcomed the decision by the institution's senate to remove the statue from campus.

Meanwhile, staff at UCT's Bremner Building were evacuated amid fears of a looming protest ahead of the senate meeting.

Students who attended a gathering in Athlone earlier on Friday threatened to once again demonstrate at the university.

It's understood staff were told to evacuate the administration block as management expected disgruntled students to once again descend on the building in protest.

Leaders of the 'Rhodes Must Fall' campaign gave the university until Friday to give them a date when the contentious statue would be removed.


The protest against the statue sparked debate across the country, with focus falling on Rhodes University, which is named after the mining magnate, and whether its name needed to be changed.

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Some students even staged a sit-in at the administrative building that houses the university's executive.

In an earlier statement released by the 'Rhodes Must Fall' movement, the students said, "We have claimed and transformed this space to begin the decolonisation of the university. This education has extended far beyond the falling of the statue and has reached the language of struggle."

The movement further went on to explain what they represented, saying, "We stress that this movement is not simply about the removal of a statue; removing the statue is only the first step towards the radical decolonisation of this university. The removal of the statue is the first condition of our campaign - from which point we will allow management to engage with us. We demand that management accepts that there is no decision to make. This movement has decided that the statue must fall."

The protesting students added that while they were occupying the building, they weren't keeping staff members from gaining access to their offices.

The students insisted they weren't occupying the building with the intention to disrupt the normal processes of management.

Picture: Students spent the night in the Bremner building as part of the ongoing protest.

Picture by Masa Kekana.