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“Changing Institutional Culture Entails More Than Removing the Statue of Rhodes” – Mzukisi Qobo

The Fall of the ANCThe Fall of the ANC: What Next? co-author, political risk analyst and former president of UCT’s student representative council, Mzukisi Qobo, has responded to the debate surrounding the legacy of Cecil John Rhodes. The presence of Rhodes’ statue on the University of Cape Town campus sparked protests and debates around the country this month and is being fired on by the collective student, staff and worker movement Rhodes Must Fall.

“There are conflicting views on how Cecil John Rhodes’s legacy should be evaluated. The proximate issue in the debate raging at the University of Cape Town is whether the statue of a figure as divisive as Rhodes should continue to form the centrepiece of that university 20 years after democracy. The deeper issue concerns the nature of the university’s institutional culture,” Qobo writes in an article for Rand Daily Mail.

Qobo reflects on Rhodes’ history and role in South Africa, including his daunting views of “them (natives) as a subject race”. Qobo argues why the current protest is a valid one, and expresses his hope that it will move “historically white universities to look inwards and take decisive steps for change” where institutionalised racism is at work.

Read the article:

Changing institutional culture entails more than removing the statue of Rhodes. There is a need for self-awareness of the discourses that have over time shaped the evolution of historically white universities, especially the idea that there is only one view of cultural progress and intellectual expression. Deliberations on institutional culture should strive to create vibrant intellectual and social spaces that affirm plurality of ideas and cultural diversity.

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Image courtesy of Rhodes Must Fall Facebook page

 

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