Nelson Mandela, Rhodes building Cape Town 2003
“We are sometimes still asked by people how we could agree to have our name joined to that of Cecil John Rhodes in this Mandela Rhodes initiative. To us, the answer is easy, and we have explained the logic of our decision on a number of occasions. We have referred to our constitutions injunction for us to come together across the historical divides, to build our country together with a future equally shared by all.
The event of this morning gives a further concrete answer to that question. The erstwhile company of Cecil John Rhodes, in which members of the Oppenheimer family were and remain such illustrious and great South Africans has today once more demonstrated it’s commitment to transformation and in fact, reparation.
We see the Mandela Rhodes foundation as a significant initiative within that broader framework of South Africans taking responsibility for the transformation of their society so grievously skewed by a history of colonialism and apartheid. We shall once more take hands across historical divides that others may deem unbridgeable “.
Yolela Mangcu a biographer of Steve Biko said “Rhodes was probably one of the worst colonisers both in word and deed. His legacy speaks for itself. He laid the template through native reserves, the pass laws and saying extremely racist things. For his statue to have pride of place is anachronistic”.
Adekeye Adebajo a Nigeria Rhodes scholar and executive director of the centre for conflict resolution in Cape Town said ” At the time I got the Rhodes scholarship, all I could think about was getting a good education and fighting for Pan African issues. This wealth was stolen from Africa when Rhodes plundered the continent, so I felt absolutely no guilt about using the money to criticise what he stood for”.
I personally can never see a Jewish holocaust surviver joining forces with a nazi to give finances for education so why did Mandela do this? Also the same people who profited during apartheid are still profiting in South Africa today. It would of been better to create a Mandela educational foundation which had nothing to do with Rhodes. Mandela’s decision must be wrong as Rhodes statue was taken down by protesters in South Africa, students are protesting in England to take down Rhodes statue from Oxford university.