The statue in the garbage bag

Watch: South Africa's 'born frees' gag on the rainbow nation pill they've been fed for the past 21 years.

Screenshot.

Chimani Maxwele, a student at the University of Cape Town in South Africa caused a real stink earlier this month by flinging poo at the statue of Cecil John Rhodes on the university’s upper campus, protesting that black students are offended by ‘colonial dominance’ at the university, was indifferent to black students’ classroom experiences and failed to racially transform. Max Price, UCT’s vice chancellor (the equivalent of a university president), who is white, was quick to defend the Cape’s colonial heritage, insisting on moving the statue rather than removing it. Students hit back and online debates quickly turned to protests with last week ending in the statue being wrapped in garbage bags and students demanding a removal date.

Meanwhile, 700 miles away, in Grahamstown (named for a notorious British officer who had starved the Xhosa people into submitting to colonial authority) the Black Students Movement at Rhodes University stood in solidarity with UCT protestors and demanded that the name of their university be changed. It was a sticky situation for Dr. Sizwe Mabizela, Rhodes’s new vice chancellor (VC), just a few weeks after he was inaugurated as the “first black African VC” (the university’s boast). Last week Mabizela addressed a packed lecture theatre at an emergency student body meeting, insisting that the university would lose funding should the name change. Debates will continue this week as young black South Africans, known as the ‘born frees’, gag on the rainbow nation pill they’ve been fed for the past 21 years. Here’s some video shot for AIAC by student journalists at Rhodes University:

 

Further Reading

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The imperial forest

Gregg Mitman’s ‘Empire of Rubber’ is less a historical reading of Liberia than a history of America and racial capitalism through the lens of a US corporate giant.

Africa’s next great war

The international community’s limited attention span is laser-focused on jihadism in the Sahel and the imploding Horn of Africa. But interstate war is potentially brewing in the eastern DRC.

The Cape Colony

The campaign to separate South Africa’s Western Cape from the rest of the country is not only a symptom of white privilege, but also of the myth that the province is better run.

Between East Africa and the Gulf

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Āfrīqāyī

It’s not common knowledge that there is Iran in Africa and there is Africa in Iran. But there are commonplace signs of this connection.

It could happen to us

Climate negotiations have repeatedly floundered on the unwillingness of rich countries, but let’s hope their own increasing vulnerability instills greater solidarity.