PRETORIA – Thousands of students from the University of Pretoria marched to the Union Buildings and demanded the removal of the statue of Nelson Mandela.
“The traitor must go,” they chanted, as they covered the statue with black refuse bags.
“Madiba sold our people out when he negotiated with the whites,” explained Thoko Tsetste, who instigated the protest. “It’s because of him that white farmers still have land.”
“Mandela wanted reconciliation,” he continued. “We’ll give it to him. We will reconcile his statue to the scrap yard, rabbit ear and all.”
The mob circled the defenceless statue, swirling in a uniform chaos, and launched a second wave of assault.
“First we take down Madiba, then we take down Shaka,” they chanted, as they spray painted slogans across the base of the statue.
“Yes, you see, King Shaka was a tyrant,” elaborated Tstetse. “He attacked all the other tribes. He chased Moshoeshoe up the mountain and forced Mzilikazi to flee to the north. That’s why so many people of Lesotho and Zimbabwe come to South Africa. Now that Shaka is gone, they’re coming back home.”
“It’s obvious that Shaka is only a hero to the Zulu,” hissed Tsetse, “But most people in this country are not Zulu. We now have a Zulu president, therefore the statue of Shaka is a symbol of the oppression we experience under the tyranny of Jacob Zuma.”
The protest was met by a strong reaction from the pro-statue faction of the TUKS campus. Many of them gathered on higher ground, shouting abuse down at the anti-bronze protesters.
“Everybody is a hero to some and a villain to others,” insisted Chiliboy Morena, the fiery ringleader of the anti-anti-Madiba group. “We must remember the people who shaped our history, whether we like them or not. Even Nelson Mandela must be remembered, regardless of whether you think he’s a terrorist not.”
“You may think Mandela was a traitor, Shaka was a tyrant, Cecil John Rhodes was an evil colonialist or Paul Kruger had a beard, but these are the people who shaped our history,” he maintained.
“We as South Africans are who we are because of our past, all of it, the good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow, the great and the terrible, and we must remember all of it, if we are to remember who we are.”
Thoko Tstetse stuck his forefinger into the air and dismissed the sentiments of the pro-statueists.
“Those people all benefited from things like BEE, tenderpreneurship and Model C schooling, and are completely detached from the plight of the poor black,” he shrugged. “They can’t be taken seriously.”
Chiliboy Morena and his faction remain resolute in their opposition to the protest.
“Shacks are the real monuments of Apartheid, replied Morena. “That’s what we must tear down.”
The Department of Arts and Culture will convene on Wednesday to decide the fate of Nelson Mandela’s statue. BN
Miriam defied her tribal elders and got an education. She then defied her tribal elders and became a journalist. Now she defies her tribal elders by reporting on her tribal elders.
The Fall of Rhodes Statue Only The First Step (Mail & Guardian)