Thursday, December 24, 2015
A statue of Cecil Rhodes that was removed from the University of Cape Town
In an email to The Independent, Mr Abbott said students at the college “should be clear-eyed about Rhodes’ faults and failings but proud of his achievements” “The university should remember that its mission is not to reflect fashion but to seek truth and that means striving to understand before rushing to judge,” he stated. “Racism is a dreadful evil but we all know that now. It’s hardly virtuous to be against racism today. Real virtue would have been to oppose racism when it was difficult to do so. “It’s a pity that Rhodes was, in many respects, a man of his times. We can lament that he failed to oppose unjust features of his society while still celebrating the genius that led to the creation of the Rhodes scholarships,” Mr Abbott wrote. (Mr Abbott himself was a Rhodes scholar.) “Rhodes was not a campaigner against racism but many of the scholars who are his legacy have been.” The Oxford University campaign comes after the University of Cape Town removed its own statue of Rhodes amid jubilant scenes in April this year.