Police investigating after Cecil John Rhodes statue decapitated in Cape Town
The South African National Parks (SANParks) says police are investigating the vandalism of the bust.
Table Mountain National Parks rangers discovered the vandalised statue while patrolling the area around Rhodes Memorial on Monday.
A damaged bust of Cecil John Rhodes, a controversial figure in the history of South Africa, is seen after the statue had been vandalised and had the head removed in Cape Town, South Africa - https://t.co/o9zCKJ19Ri pic.twitter.com/zhNLFItJjr— Russell Boyce (@Cropperboyce) July 14, 2020
Cecil John Rhodes has been beheaded. The famous bust of the 19th-century colonialist which sits at Rhodes Memorial on Table Mountain was vandalised on Monday. His right hand now cups what would have been his cheek – only with most of his face and head missing. pic.twitter.com/yIqg83mIAF— Voice of the Cape (@VOCfm) July 15, 2020
SANParks spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli says police are still searching for the perpetrator responsible for the incident.
As our rangers were doing patrols on Monday morning, they found that the statue of Cecil John Rhodes had actually been beheaded.Reynold Thakhuli, Media Liaison - Sanparks
We immediately alerted authorities and got the police involved to open a case against whoever has beheaded this statue.Reynold Thakhuli, Media Liaison - Sanparks
We are treating it as a criminal vandalism case.Reynold Thakhuli, Media Liaison - Sanparks
Thakhuli says that there are formal processes to follow, through the Department of Arts and Culture, to petition for the removal of colonial statues.
Discussions around the removal of these kinds of busts or statues linked to colonialism and apartheid is certainly the work of the Department of Arts and Culture.Reynold Thakhuli, Media Liaison - Sanparks
Rhodes' statue is situated on the memorial site, in Devil's Peak in Cape Town. It's not the first time that it has been defaced.
The Black People's National Crisis Committee says colonial statues and monuments have damaging psychological effects on black people in South Africa.
The committee, which called for the removal of the Louis Botha statue at Parliament last month, says it cannot take credit for beheading the statue of Rhodes.
However, the group's Chulumanco Nkasela says black people are clearly angry that colonial and apartheid figures continue to be commemorated to this day.
Black people are really angry... this anger is revived by seeing these statutes every day. This beheading really speaks to this anger.Chulumanco Nkasela, Member - Black People’s National Crisis Committe
In April 2015, the statue of Cecil John Rhodes was removed from the University of Cape Town (UCT)'s upper campus following weeks of student demonstrations.
There have been growing movements around the world, protesting against statues of confederate military figures, slave owners, and colonialists.
Listen to the discussion on The Midday Report with Lester Kiewit:
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