Colonialists and Savages


Images obtained HERE

For those who haven’t come across it, some of the students at University of Cape Town have recently taken offence, on grounds which are blatantly racist however much they may deny it, at the fact that a statue of a seated figure of Cecil John Rhodes dominates the entrance.  Ignoring the fact that he was a towering figure in the history of the period, they want him removed (and replaced, no doubt, with another ‘Hero of the Struggle’).  They accuse him of having been disparaging to those of local ethnicity, and of having caused the deaths of many, and maintain that tracts of land donated and scholarships created by him during his lifetime were selfishly towards preserving his own immortality and should not count in his favour.

Instead of spanking their backsides and telling them to study history a bit more assiduously, the university has agreed that the famous memorial will come down.

Surprisingly, the views on which demands are based are supported by many of the academics who are probably of colonialist descent themselves. Members of the oh-so-stupidly-PC brigade, no doubt. Also surprisingly, historians have responded to arguments that he was a good deal less disgusting in habits and attitudes than, for example, Shaka, with lame claims that the cases are not the same and that Shaka has the saving grace of having unified the Nguni people – this is very debatable.  In fact Shaka chased many north, and others into becoming allied with the white settlers.  He also bumped off significant numbers.  I don’t know of any scholarships he left, either. Nevertheless, he was certainly a major figure in the history of his time, and I have no problem with him being remembered and commemorated.

I have a major problem, however, with the idea of tampering with or destroying things which are part of the history of the country, and renaming streets, buildings and places with the names of people whose accomplishments simply pale to insignificance by comparison with either the persons they replace or those who did the original naming. The new nominees often achieved little more than loudly supporting a cause, and perhaps causing some damage in opposing the other one. There is no justification for using them to replace someone whose efforts added a lasting benefit for the whole community. It is also a form of theft. Surely the creator of something has the right to have it named after them, or to have the name they chose to be respected and maintained?

This antipathy to colonialists is also inexplicable – it has to be fed by ignorance and misinformation. Everyone pussyfoots round the incontrovertible facts. The colonialists came – as people with mistaken ideas by today’s standards, certainly – but with vastly greater progress into technology, learning, arts and culture than the local races they encountered. To them, these locals were nothing more than savages.  And savages they would undoubtedly have remained for a considerable time to come, except that the colonialists lifted them by the bootstraps of their non-existent boots to propel them into a greatly advanced state of evolution. For this, and the sophisticated infrastructure which evolved due to the efforts and enterprise of the colonialists – and without which would not have done so! – one would think that a mature society would be ready, willing and able to concede their place in local history.

The apartheid era was born of the conviction that it was not possible for evolutionary acceleration to take place, and that local races should be left to progress separately towards advancement. The greatest evils of apartheid came after it had been demonstrated that the local races could, indeed, progress at a considerable rate – and then it was tried, by force, to stop them from doing so.

Having said which, many of the actions of government over the past decade make it seem that they are quite determined to prove that the original theory was right.  The reasons are not, I believe, that the indigenous people are incapable – just that the voters are misguided regarding the basis on which they choose their leaders, resulting in some of the least suitable persons ending up in charge. Understandably, they make a muck of it.

© Colonialist March 2015 (WordPress)
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About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies.
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22 Responses to Colonialists and Savages

  1. The Asian says:

    All of these “racist” things that they are fighting against are part of our history and made us the country that we are today. Future generations need to know this history although I think one day it’s going to become a very distorted version…

    I’ve sort of been following this story although I’ve missed the part why a statue that has been there for years has now suddenly become a problem.

    Like

  2. History needs to be secured and anchored in place firmly for future generations to understand their “present”. So many are so eager to play the victim and seek to be offended and point endless blame rather than seeing progress – and where to go next. They only see things through their modern eyes ( and experiences) not history/events in context.
    Firmly opposed to destroying historical places/objects. Learn and grow up and forward.
    People making demands like this are never satisfied – they will simple make more foolish demands

    Liked by 1 person

    • colonialist says:

      Incredible that no real effort seems to have been made to point out how truly immature and unreasoning (not to mention inexcusably disgusting, in the spreading of faeces) the behaviour of these young idiots was.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. El Rolyat says:

    There would be no University of Cape Town had it not been for Rhodes! Those demonstrators fail to see the irony in that.

    You might like to read these two posts I came across the other day on To Muse and Abuse (warning: possibly strong language):

    http://to-muse-and-abuse.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-rhodes-statue-whats-big-stink.html

    http://to-muse-and-abuse.blogspot.com/2015/03/uct-press-release-rhodes-statue-will-be.html

    Like

    • colonialist says:

      What I find it hard to understand is the way that supposedly intelligent adult academics have allowed themselves to be swayed by all this irrational and racist bilge.
      Thanks for the links. His language isn’t nearly strong enough to fit the occasion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • El Rolyat says:

        I too was surprised, shocked even, that they capitulated, re-wrote history and allowed terrorism to win.
        You would think they would at least conduct a vote amongst their students. Then if the majority want it down, so be it. (although I very much doubt that would be the outcome)

        Like

  4. Kathleen says:

    Well said Col!
    What fascinates me, is that the kids who have these “views” weren’t even around 21 years ago. They were born into democracy and have had better opportunities than their previous generations. They obviously have no background on history because if you had to ask them who he was, they would not be able to tell you. It is a sad day, when history is thrown out the window, because we wouldn’t be who we are without the history.

    Liked by 2 people

    • colonialist says:

      The bigger picture is certainly not seen by these petty protestors – apart from everything else, they are affecting things like the tourism industry. If all relics of colonialism were to be removed, there would be precious little of interest left.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. melouisef says:

    I hope the Rhodes Scholarships are also a thing of the past ?

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Patrecia (with an E) says:

    From what I hear from kathy in SA..the whole of administration is and always has been completely corrupt, like most governments I will add….but to destroy a statue seems meaningless and to me shows the stupidity of modern day thinkers…How will futeure generations be able to understand the history of the country if every piece is removed on the whim of a group of people.
    having said that I might be old fashioned and maybe it goes along with the thoughts that nothing remains forever in the modern world. Like marriage..doesn’t matter to keep on trying…just divorce ..its so much easier….its a throw-a-way society that we live in.

    hows your leg?

    Liked by 1 person

    • colonialist says:

      The apartheid regime may have been abhorrent in many ways, but all in all was a good deal less corrupt than the modern administrations. But you are right – this is not altogether a South African aberration, but is symptomatic of the shallowness of modern thinking and commitment.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. newsferret says:

    Bingo Les, you said it all. 20 years of democracy for all and where are we? Slipping down the dumps. Black racists supported by white liberals to deny the white man his history while they scream blue murder if they are denied access to the graves of their forefathers in order to worship the spirits of the past. They cannot live today for a better tomorrow as tomorrow being the future does not exist as it is not here yet.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Hear hear, Col!! I couldn’t agree with you more on all points, and what an absolute “muck’ the present so-called leaders are making of it. Mandela must be turning in his grave.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Good for you, Les. It needed saying. I hope this is Freshly Pressed so that thousands read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • colonialist says:

      Glad you think so, but with prevailing attitudes I don’t think such hard facts will be well received. Elements of defeatism and inferiority complex instead of a willingness to pick up the challenges also enter into the mindset, as shown with the way Black Empowerment is administered, where skin colour rather than ability determines selection. This gives no incentive to improve.

      Liked by 3 people

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