Cape Town. 150920. The Rhodes Memorial statue was vandalised over the weekend. The most damage being done to the nose, which was removed. Pic COURTNEY AFRICA
Cape Town. 150920. The Rhodes Memorial statue was vandalised over the weekend. The most damage being done to the nose, which was removed. Pic COURTNEY AFRICA

Rhodes Memorial statue defaced, spraypainted

By Carlo Petersen Time of article published Sep 20, 2015

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Carlo Petersen

MYSTERY surrounds who sliced off the nose of the Cecil John Rhodes statue at Rhodes Memorial at the weekend.

It has been cut off with what SA National Parks (SANParks) officials presume to be an angle grinder.

SANParks spokesperson Merle Collins said officials were alerted on Friday afternoon.

The perpetrators had also tried to sever the head of the statue from behind the bust, where a 5cm incision had been made.

“They must have stopped halfway through and then decided to just cut off the nose. The statue was very damaged and they spraypainted vulgar slogans all round it too,” Collins said.

On the plinth of the bust the words, “The master’s nose betrays him” had been painted, and on the walls along the right and left-hand sides, “Your dreams of empire will die” and “Racist, thief, murderer, philanthropist” could be seen.

SANParks officials tried to remove the paint on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, Tokolos Stencils, a collective “to terrorise the powers that be... emerges from obscurity reminding us that freedom and justice remain elusive unless we are willing to fight for it”, tweeted: “Received an anonymous e-mail from someone called The Nose.

“They claim to have done something at Rhodes Memorial. Has anyone been there today?”

Last month the collective took “radical action” at UCT by spraypainting slogans and planting stickers all over campus to expose “UCT’s collusion with white monopoly capital, and in particular Lonmin”.

The group has denied any involvement in defacing the Rhodes bust.

Collins said SA National Parks had lodged a complaint with the SAPS.

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said no one had been arrested.

Heritage Western Cape director Hannetjie du Preez said: “We’ll be in talks with SANParks to increase security at the site because not only is it a provincial heritage site, but also a World Heritage Site.”

The vandalism at Rhodes memorial follows the removal of the statue of the British colonialist at UCT in April.

Student activist Chumani Maxwele flung excrement on the statue on March 9, effectively initiating its removal and what has now become a nationwide campaign to “decolonise” universities.

Oom Paul Kruger and other statues across Pretoria received VIP protection in April following the defacing of two statues on Church Square.

Two of the burghers were covered in green paint, while the statue of Paul Kruger escaped with just a splotch.

Various Afrikaner organisations then entered the fray to express their dismay over the defacing and removal of national heritage sites by chaining themselves to statues around the country.

Heritage Western Cape could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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