Walking Down Memorial Lane With Cecil John Rhodes  |  Cape Town

Walking Down Memorial Lane With Cecil John Rhodes | Cape Town

par Saskia Carelse décembre 22, 2017

Rhodes Memorial In Cape Town is one of the most stunning viewpoints, but its history is not as attractive as you think

If you have ever looked up at the lower northern slopes (otherwise know as Devil's Peak) of Table Mountain in Cape Town, you may have noticed the subtle yet notable monument of Rhodes Memorial. It stands amongst the familiar Silvertrees, Oak and Pine trees that decorate Table Mountain, and seems to nestle into the landscape comfortably.

However, many people do not feel comfortable having the remnants of Cecil John Rhodes standing boldly as a national monument. Rhodes Memorial was built between 1910 and 1912 in commemoration of the English-born politician, imperialist and coloniser who held a firm hand in South Africa's political affairs, development and economy.

Today, Rhodes Memorial serves as a tea room, tourist attraction, viewpoint and picnic spot. It attracts both visitors and locals of Cape Town, giving them outstanding views of the city.

Besides for the views, the architecture is also a sight to behold. Built using Cape Granite with a strong Greek influence, it's a delight to walk up the massive staircase with 49 steps (one for each year of Rhodes's life), bordered by lion statues. At the bottom of the steps is a striking bronze statue of a horseman.

Rhodes Memorial, Cape Town

Lion Statue, Rhodes Memorial

Rhodes Memorial, Statue

While visiting Rhodes Memorial is a beautiful and unique way to spend your day in Cape Town, it also gives you a glimpse into the effects that Cecil John Rhodes imparted on South Africa. 

Many South Africans have been fighting for de-colonisation and the downfall of white supremacy and privilege for decades, recently prominently-seen with the #RhodesMustFall movement in 2015. They have also been calling for various historical statues, such as those of Cecil John Rhodes, to be pulled down.

The statue of Cecil John Rhodes at Rhodes Memorial in Cape Town was defaced and spray painted in September 2015. There was a huge outcry when this incident went public, however it was not an isolated incident. I recall visiting Rhodes Memorial when I was a young girl and seeing the bathroom walls spewing out words of resentment towards Cecil John Rhodes.

Cecil John Rhodes Statues Defaced At Rhodes Memorial In Cape Town

If you are interested in history, sightseeing or architecture, I would recommend visiting Rhodes Memorial. It's views are just out of this world and will melt your heart, the architecture makes one feel as if they have stepped into Greece, while the vandalised features will bring great insight into the colonisation of South Africa and how its people were affected as a result.


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Saskia Carelse
Saskia Carelse


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