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A theme park for colonial statues on the cards

Delegates discussed how to deal with colonial symbols and the 'transformation of the heritage landscape'.

FILE: Paul Kruger and the four Burghers statue is just one of the many that have been defaced and caught in the transformation debate. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A suggestion that colonial statues be kept in a theme park has emerged as one of the more unusual resolutions to the discussions around transformation in post-apartheid South Africa.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa held a meeting with political parties and other stakeholders last week after a series of colonial statues were defaced in several parts of the country.

Over 200 delegates, who included representatives from civil society organisations, heritage institutions and academics, attended the gathering at Freedom Park on 17 April.

They discussed how to deal with colonial symbols and the " transformation of the heritage landscape".

Today Mthethwa revealed the outcomes of their discussions.

The statue of Cecil John Rhodes was removed from its prominent position on the University of Cape Town's upper campus almost two weeks ago.

But should Rhodes and other colonial statues be placed in a theme park?

Minister Nathi Mthethwa says such a proposal emerged during a meeting last week.

"It is preferred that a common park of symbols and statues with a thematic narrative of the evolution of our history be created. The point about the theme parks is that you need to have a situation where you do not perpetuate the statues war."

Another resolution is that an audit be carried out to identify names and symbols that are regarded as 'offensive' and be earmarked for change.

A task team would have to be established to effect these proposals.

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