The EFF expresses disgust at FW De Klerk for his open rejection of the plans to remove the statue of the colonial anti-black racist expansionist Cecil John Rhodes from Oxford University in the United Kingdom. De Klerk is quoted as saying, “We do not commemorate historic figures for their ability to measure up to current conceptions of political correctness, but because of their actual impact on history.” By extension, it means De Klerk thinks there was a time when apartheid or colonisation was politically correct, which renders his apologies for it futile.
De Klerk also goes further to say, “the Afrikaners have greater reason to dislike Rhodes than anyone else. He was the architect of the Anglo-Boer War that had a disastrous impact on our people. Yet the National Party government never thought of removing his name from our history.”
The only reason apartheid would not remove Cecil John Rhode’s statue is because it shared the same ideas of anti-black racism, colonial expansionism and conquest as he did. In addition, if apartheid was a crime against humanity and therefore it cannot be an example to be imitated in how we think of our public statues. Apartheid has no moral authority to ask anyone to imitate it in not removing statues of colonialists because it was itself a murderous anti-black racist regime of the worse form than earlier versions of colonisation.
De Klerk’s defence of Rhode’s statue demonstrates that he does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize he has received alongside Nelson Mandela because his views represent a man who has not repented from apartheid. He is effectively saying it was right for Rhodes to be recognised for being a great colonialist because at the time colonialists were politically correct to colonise Africa. This views must be considered as a withdrawal of his apology for apartheid since, for him, it was politically correct. The essence is, there is no system of anti-black racism and mass murder of black people that will ever be politically correct; it was wrong in the past, in the present and it will be in the future.
If De Klerk does not see the importance of the demand by Oxford students that Rhode’s statue must be removed in the United Kingdom, then he does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize he received alongside Mandela. We therefore call on the Nobel Peace Prize committee to recall De Klerk’s award completely and re-issue it to Nelson Mandela posthumously as it is clear he should have never shared it with De Klerk in the first place.
The EFF further extends its unequivocal support to all students in Oxford University for their unconditional demand that #RhodesMustFall. They must not listen to De Klerk whose recent views represent his private ambitions to become a statue. De Klerk knows that if Rhodes can fall, then he as an apartheid leader and a person who thinks colonisation was politically correct then he will not be rewarded with a status of being a public statue. Therefore, like the statue of Rhodes, he must go to the apartheid museum.
All apartheid and colonial statues and symbols must fall, not just here in South Africa, but the world over.
ISSUED BY THE ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS