via Re-erect Rhodes statue, Cont Mhlanga – NewZimbabwe 13 April 2015
A LEADING Zimbabwe playwright believes a statue of colonialist Cecil John Rhodes, which was taken down in Bulawayo after independence, must be put back in place to stimulate public debate, media reports said.
Cont Mhlanga told the Bulawayo-based newspaper that re-erecting Rhodes’ statue in Zimbabwe’s second city would help future generations “ask pertinent questions”.
“We should take every colonial symbol and put it in public. Bulawayo is Rhodes’ financial capital, so his statue must be brought back to the public so that it can be scrutinised,” he was quoted as saying.
A statue of Rhodes was removed from the city centre soon after Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 and taken to the nearby National History Museum.
Mhlanga’s comments come a few days after President Robert Mugabe said in South Africa that Rhodes would not be exhumed from his grave in the Matopos, a state park outside Bulawayo.
The playwright, who was recently given a licence by Mugabe’s government to run a radio station in Bulawayo, criticised the Rhodes Trust, which offers scholarships to students to study at Oxford.
“There are many problems affecting our education sector. We do not have enough labs for science or even teachers. The Rhodes Trust must plough back where Rhodes looted,” Mhlanga said.
There have been several calls from within Zimbabwe for authorities to buy and display the statue of Rhodes that was removed this week from the University of Cape Town.
Prominent social media entrepreneur Nigel Mugamu tweeted: “If Zimbabwe won’t remove the Rhodes grave, why not buy the statue & put them together? Surely that would add value from a tourism angle?”