Recently, early 2015, there has been some objection to the statue of Cecil John Rhodes that stands on the upper campus of the University of Cape Town. Colonialists and Imperialists are no longer seen as being a positive in South African history. Rhodes’ statue was boarded up after a vote by the university’s senate to remove it, pending a permanent decision. Students started protesting against the statue in March while a couple smeared it with poo. (Some politicians I could name could do with the same treatment.)
I wonder what those students receiving Rhodes Scholarships feel about Rhodes.
As I understand it, he meant well, but did not always do well. As for statues, I think they all suck. Every last one of them. Sculpture? That’s something else entirely. Give me a beautiful, or thought-provoking, sculpture any old time. Preferably with a fountain, if there’s any water to spare.
Keith Spackman, friend and engineer, whose mum lived in Bulawayo in the ’90s, invited Sheila and I to go and visit her with him for our Company’s long weekend at the end of October, 1992.
After spending the first night at Keith’s sister, Tish, and her husband’s place in Francistown, we went through the border near Plumtree, together with our dogs, and arrived in the little city of Bulawayo before lunch. Keith took us exploring, shopping and visiting his friends before we settled in for the night at his mum’s home at 12 Essex Rd, Hillside.
There was some excitement the next morning when my staffy, Mack, laid tooth to Keith’s mum’s yorky. After Beano had kept attacking him, Mack had briefly put his good manners aside. The damage was slight, and everyone agreed that Beano had deserved what he got.
We prowled Bulawayo Museum, finding it most fascinating, before visiting Keith’s friend and fellow pilot, a lawyer, Tim Cherry and his girlfriend, a Matabele girl, Tandy. I found them both pleasant and very interesting. Supper was dining out at a Safari Restaurant, where Sheila and I had delicious kudu steaks.
Bulawayo reeks of Rhodes, so inevitably, on the Sunday we took a picnic to Matopos National Park in the rugged, bouldery hills south of the city. We saw rock paintings and climbed up to where C.J. is buried.
Twenty three years later, there is even talk of exhuming Rhodes’ bones and sending them back to Britain. All that expense; what a waste. Politicians lie, so why shouldn’t sleeping dogs? Good, bad or indifferent, they’re history…