We demand that the statue of Cecil John Rhodes be removed from the campus of the University of Cape Town, as the first step towards the decolonisation of the university as a whole.
This petition had 1,647 supporters
WHAT THIS MOVEMENT IS ABOUT
We are an independent collective of students, workers and staff who have come together to end institutionalised racism and patriarchy at UCT. This movement was sparked by Chumani Maxwele’s radical protest against the statue of Cecil John Rhodes on Monday 9 March 2015. We want to be clear that this movement is not just concerned with the removal of a statue. The statue has great symbolic power; it glorifies a mass-murderer who exploited black labour and stole land from indigenous people. Its presence erases black history and is an act of violence against black students, workers and staff – by “black” we refer to all people of colour. The statue was therefore the natural starting point of this movement. Its removal will not mark the end but the beginning of the long overdue process of decolonising this university.
• Remove all statues and plaques on campus celebrating white supremacists.
• Rename buildings and roads from names commemorating only white people, to names of either black historical figures, or to names that contribute to this university taking seriously its African positionality.
• Replace artworks that exoticise the black experience (by white, predominantly male artists) which are presented without context, with artworks produced by young, black artists.
• Recognise that the history of those who built our university - enslaved and working class black people - has been erased through institutional culture. Pay more attention to historical sites of violence, such as the slave graves beneath the buildings in which we learn.
• Implement a curriculum which critically centers Africa and the subaltern. By this we mean treating African discourses as the point of departure - through addressing not only content, but languages and methodologies of education and learning - and only examining western traditions in so far as they are relevant to our own experience.
• Provide financial and research support to black academics and staff.
• Radically change the representation of black lecturers across faculties.
• Revise the limitations on access to senior positions for black academics. This includes interrogating the notion of “academic excellence” which is used to limit black academics and students' progression within the university.
• Increase the representation of black academics on the currently predominantly white, male decision making bodies which perpetuate institutional racism.
• Re-evaluate the standards by which research areas are decided - from areas that are lucrative and center whiteness, to areas that are relevant to the lives of black people locally and on the continent.
• Introduce a curriculum and research scholarship linked to social justice and the experiences of black people.
• Adopt an admissions policy that explicitly uses race as a proxy for disadvantage, prioritising black applicants.
• Remove the NBT as a requirement for admission because it systematically disadvantages all students except those who attend Model C schools and private schools.
• Improve academic support programmes.
• Meaningfully interrogate why black students are most often at the brunt of academic exclusion.
• Develop an improved financial aid system.
• Radically reduce the currently extortionate fees.
• Improve facilities which deal with sexual assault, as well as facilities which help black students deal with the psychological trauma as a result of racism.
• Implement R10,000 pm minimum basic for UCT workers as a step towards a living wage, in the spirit of Marikana.
• Get rid of the Supplemented Living Level, which prescribes a poverty wage.
• Stop using the Consumer Price Index which ensures that wages never really increase, leaving workers in poverty.
• End outsourcing. The companies must go, the workers must stay.
There should be no capitalist companies making profits at this public sector institution. Workers must know that their job is safe, has decent working conditions and ensures comfortable lives.
• Education for workers and their families must be free.
• Stop the victimisation and intimidation of workers. No worker must be penalised in any way for supporting and joining protest action, including strike action, at UCT.
• Workers must be able, without penalty of any kind, to refuse work that is a danger or hazard to their health and safety.
• Provide workers with access to services dealing with labour, family, housing issues.
• Provide workers with avenues through which to report and address experiences of racism, sexism and other forms of abuse. These avenues must assist in enforcing legal action against the perpetrator.
The Rhodes Must Fall Movement
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Rhodes Must Fall needs your help with “the South African public and the world at large: We demand that the statue of Cecil John Rhodes be removed from the campus of the University of Cape Town, as the first step towards the decolonisation of the university as a whole.”. Join Rhodes and 1,646 supporters today.