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Rhodes Must Fall movement in UK hits back at de Klerk

The former South African president recently referred to the student movement as 'folly'.

FILE: Former South African president FW de Klerk. Picture: FW de Klerk Foundation Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - Members of the Rhodes Must Fall movement at Oxford University have dismissed FW de Klerk's criticism of their campaign as laughable.

More than 2,300 people have signed a petition demanding the removal of Cecil John Rhodes's statue from Oriel College in England.

The former South African president recently referred to the student movement as 'folly'.

He said some youngsters who want the statue of Rhodes removed are still benefiting from his financial contributions to the institution.

The movement's Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh said, "De Klerk has been lucky that in the spirit of reconciliation his legacy has been left largely untouched in the South African contemporary debate. But we think he'd be well-advised to stay out of the debate because we think it's rich for someone who presided over crime against humanity to lecture peaceful students on how to tackle racism."

Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford published this 'open letter' on its Facebook page.

Meanwhile, the FW de Klerk Foundation believes recent criticism against the former president is a general move to try and completely expunge the contribution of whites to South African history.

In a short statement making rounds on social media, de Klerk says he couldn't understand why an organisation as honourable as Oriel, would be so ungrateful and ungracious in the treatment of its benefactor.

The EFF earlier today called for de Klerk to be stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize.

But the foundation's Dave Steward says they're not surprised by the criticism from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Rhodes Must Fall campaign.

"There's a move to denigrate everything that white South Africans have done, everything that they have contributed to the development of South Africa and this is part of the EFF's vote-winning strategy. They want to take up the most extreme position that they can on all these issues."

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