Oom Paul excites a chain reaction

Published Apr 8, 2015


Pretoria - An Afrikaans political party and singers Steve Hofmeyr and Sunette Bridges have joined the fight to keep the historical statue of Paul Kruger standing in Pretoria.

Bridges together with members of Front Nasionaal (Front National) threatened to chain themselves to the statue if Tshwane mayor Kgotsientso Ramakgopa did not collect a petition which aims to protect heritage sites.

This protest action came after the ANC Youth League called for the statue’s removal.

On Tuesday members of the Heritage Foundation started cleaning the Kruger statue and those of the burghers that had been defaced with green paint over the weekend.

The controversy began last month at the University of Cape Town where students called for the statue of Cecil John Rhodes to be removed.

The university’s senate voted in favour on March 30.

“Destroying symbols of Afrikaner history will change nothing. You cannot change history, you have to influence the future!” Front Nasionaal posted on its Facebook page.

Bridges encouraged all supporters to join the “sit-in just for an hour”.

“We cannot really just sit here and watch everything around us being destroyed,” she said.

Hofmeyr arrived at Church Square just after 1pm to address the protesters.

There were mixed reactions from the public on Twitter with some supporting the singers and others vehemently disagreeing with their actions.

“Imagine the statue of Hitler in Jewish communities?” Tweeted @Justice_Malatsi. “Same way this idiot wants us to embrace Paul Kruger, f*** Mandela and the peace sign.”

@That_Pedi_Guy tweeted: “Blacks are the 1st to shout about incidents of racism and inequality. Leave Paul Kruger alone there’s K Mampuru for us blacks.”

Some tweeters felt there were other ways to deal with the statues dispute.

@ndlovu_skhu said: “We must build OR Tambo statue next to Paul Kruger statue. John Langalibalele next to Rhodes.”

One Twitter user, @MTshwete, took a more light-hearted approach to the situation: “Now someone wants to chain herself to the Paul Kruger statue, how could Trevor Noah not be a global sensation with all this material?”

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The Star

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