ASCENT TO FREEDOM AND JUSTICE
A CO-ORDINATED PROPOSAL TO RESOLVE THE PERCEPTION OF KEY ‘SYMBOLS’
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN (UCT)
UCT Emeritus Professor and Life Fellow Tim Crowe – B.A., M.Sc. & Ph.D.
Create an “Ascent to freedom” stretching from the site once occupied by Rhodes’ Statue to the current Jameson Hall.
Replace Rhodes’ Statue with a sanctioned one of a Khoikhoi or San family, representing the sub-continent’s (and possibly Earth’s) First People. One might also consider a statue of a hominin, e.g. Australopithecus or a non-sapiens Homo (naledi?).
Change the name Smuts Hall to Gandhi /Smuts Hall to call attention to the deep philosophical connections between these close friends who were political adversaries.
Change the name Fuller Hall to Gool/Fuller/ Hall.
In both cases, add busts of the new eminent person.
In the intervening parking area, commission statues of Nelson Mandela, T.B. Davie and Helen Suzman standing side-by-side, perhaps even holding hands.
Formally name the steps leading to the Memorial Hall as “The Jammie Steps”. This will preserve a tradition treasured by most UCT alumni and put Jameson into a less prominent position.
Celebrations and Marketing
Commission a video [MOOC?] narrated by Sakina Kamwendo, Trevor Noah, and/or Charlize Theron complemented by interviews with President Ramaphosa, Minister Naledi Pandor and and famous South Africans/ UCT alumni (e.g. Mamphela Ramphele, Njabulo Ndebele, Barney and Sipho Pityana, Bongani Mayosi, Graça Machel, Bulelani Ngcuka, Mogoeng Mogoeng, Thebe Medupe, Gcina Mhlope, John Kani, Mbongeni Ngema, Joseph Shabalala, Nicky Oppenheimer, Wendy Foden, J. M. Coetzee, Nick Mallett, Hermann Giliomee, Mark Shuttleworth, George Ellis, Albie Sachs, Pieter-Dirk Uys, Breyten Breytenbach, Stuart Saunders, Wieland Gevers, Hugh Amoore, Anusaya Chinsamy-Turan, "Thuli" Madonsela, Tim Noakes, Jennifer Thomson, Jill Farrant, John Parkington, Francis Thackeray, et al.) that guides the viewer through the history underpinning the “Climb” from the new statue to Sobukwe Memorial Hall.
First and foremost, the video should emphasize what makes the Climb’s historical figures fascinating components of human evolution, science, social anthropology/linguistics (especially the KhoiSan) and African/UCT history. Then, complement this with a ‘warts-and-all’ history of the Climb. This could give Rhodes, key donors (e.g. Sir Otto Beit and Sir Julius Wernher) and Smuts credit as UCT’s and the Rhodes Scholarship’s benefactors, contrasting this with his/their various nefarious acts. I would also favour a history of the Rhodes statue’s history, including the pain it caused to Afrikaner and black students, plus a full account of the RhodesMustFall Movement.
The video should end with the depiction of an event attended by a large crowd of representatives of the KhoiSan Community, the Sobukwe family, past/current students, alumni/staff/leaders (Aaron Klug, Athol Fugard, J.M. Coetzee, the Pitanya brothers, Stuart Saunders, Mamphela Ramphele, Njabulo Ndebele, David Maynier, Helen Zille, Naledi Pandor, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Gwen Ngwenya, George Ellis, Brian Warner, Ebrahim Rasool, Nick Mallett, Breyten Breytenbach, Jeremy Cronin, Geoff/Debbie Budlender et al.), alumni families (invited from all over the world), major donors (e.g. the Oppenheimers, Mark Shuttleworth), Fallists opposed to continued violence making the inaugural “Climb”.
This would be a wonderful gesture of reconciliation and unity and an excellent way of attracting financial support needed for UCT’s adaptive decolonization.
What to my fellow Ikeys think?