Cape Town - The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price on Tuesday said he and university management had long felt the controversial statue of Cecil John Rhodes should be moved from its prominent position.
“The statue says more about this University than of the man. It doesn’t say what we want it to say,” said Price on Tuesday during a special meeting of the UCT Convocation.
President of Convocation, Professor Dr Barney Pityana called the special meeting - a gathering of alumni, academic staff, and its emeritus professors - in order to allow members to give its views on the statue’s future.
With the floor opened for debate, members of Convocation voiced their concerns and support.
“I think the throwing of human waste on the statue was appalling,” said one elderly man.
Another alumni member, Heritage Society’s Richard Bryant, also weighed in: “Heritage symbols do not necessarily have to be friendly. They are there to create a conversation for a united future”.
“Rhodes was a great benefactor of this university and of this country. The student who threw the human waste is a savage” said another alumni member.
“There is no place in this university community for calling a student who protests a ‘savage’,” responded another.
An alumni member who participated in anti-apartheid sit-ins in the 1960s also commented: “I am in full support of the students’ calls”.
The divide between those who voiced their support and those against the student protests was relatively equal.
All arguments made by Convocation would be taken to UCT’s Council meeting on Wednesday evening.
The Council, UCT’s highest governing structure would then make a decision on the way forward.
“A decision will be made based on arguments from all constituencies. But, not all arguments will be equally weighed because this is not about numbers,” said Price.
Whatever decision was made, the University would have to consult with the Western Cape Heritage Resources Council.