Site icon Asaase Radio

Ramaphosa supports removal of statues “glorifying racism”

Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has thrown his weight behind campaigns to remove statues which represent interests from the country’s apartheid past.

He said monuments that glorify racism are not welcome in the country, which has a population of over 54 million.

Ramaphosa said this during a virtual address this week, as South Africans marked Heritage Day, a public holiday to celebrate the country’s diverse cultures.

“Any symbol, monument or activity that glorifies racism, that represents our ugly past, has no place in democratic South Africa. Monuments glorifying our divisive past should be repositioned and relocated,” he said.

“We make no apologies”

President Ramaphosa noted that the removal of the statues should not be taken as the erasing of history. 

He said it should be seen as a way of rather “being sensitive to the lived experiences of all this country’s people”.

He said the country’s main objective is “to build a united nation”, adding that “we make no apologies for this”.

The president cited a recent racialised hair advert which portrayed black hair as terrible and white hair as ideal.

“An offensive hair advertisement that was recently published shows that we still have a long way to go. The apartheid government denigrated our cultures and tried to make us ashamed of our cultures, our traditions, our languages and our very appearances. 

“It is disheartening to see that in democratic South Africa, there are still crude stereotypes of black women being put on public display,” he added.

Rhodes Must Fall

Black South Africans have been leading the unofficial campaign to remove all statues of historical apartheid figures.

In 2015, Ramabani Mahapa, who served as the president of the University of Cape Town Students Representative Council, led a push to remove a statue of the imperialist tycoon Cecil Rhodes.

The hashtag #RhodesMustFall began trending on social media, as calls for Rhodes’s statue to be removed grew. 

“We’ve got to find different ways of educating the public about our history,” Mahapa said. I don’t think these statues are the right way to go about it – especially given that many of them are about glorifying oppression and racism.

“The goal when they were erected was a testament to the attitudes towards race at the time. As the current generation, we have different attitudes and the continued presence of these monuments is problematic,” he said.

E A Alanore

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online.
Follow us on Twitter: @asaaseradio995
#asaaseradio #TVOL

Exit mobile version