Colonial Statues: How African Countries Responded From Liberation to #RhodesMustFall

Cecil Rhodes, King Leopold, Paul Kruger.

Statues honoring leaders of colonial rule have been pulled down over the years in Africa after countries won independence or newer generations said relics had to go.

Though a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes was taken down in Zimbabwe – formerly Rhodesia – at independence, it was only in 2015 that his statue was removed from the University of Cape Town in South Africa in light of pressure from the #RhodesMustFall movement.

Other statues, including colonial figures in South Africa and a colonial general in Senegal, still stand.

Yale historian Benedito Machava says different forms of decolonization appear to account in part for variations across the continent in how post-colonial governments and societies confronted the symbols and memorials of colonialism.

New campaigns in the U.S. and Europe are now following Africa’s lead. Monuments to slave traders and colonial rulers have become the focus of protests around the world, driven by a reexamination of historical injustice after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in the U.S.

Should they go or stay? Let us know your views below.

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