Apartheid-era stat­ues of white lead­ers ig­nite furor

Old colo­nial stat­ues are in the crosshairs in South Africa舊殖民者塑像成為南非眾所矚目的焦點

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

It all be­gan when a South African stu­dent pro­tester tossed fe­ces on a statue of Bri­tish colo­nial­ist Ce­cil John Rhodes at the Uni­ver­sity of Cape Town. His protest then ig­nited na­tion­wide calls to re­move other stat­ues of for­mer white lead­ers. A statue of Bri­tain's King Ge­orge V on a Uni­ver­sity of KwaZulu-Natal cam­pus was splat­tered with white paint. Some ac­tivists want a statue of Paul Kruger, a for­mer pres­i­dent of the South African Repub­lic in the late 19th cen­tury, to be shifted from a cen­tral square in Pre­to­ria, the cap­i­tal, to a mu­seum. The up­roar is part of a larger dis­cus­sion about change in South Africa. The le­gacy of apartheid and the white mi­nor­ity rule that ended only two decades ago is of­ten blamed for eco­nomic in­equal­ity, a strug­gling ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and other ma­jor prob­lems. Mthunzi Mthimkhulu, a tech­nol­ogy con­sul­tant and for­mer stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Cape Town, stood near the Rhodes statue, which had been wrapped in black garbage bags by pro­test­ers. Ob­scene graf­fiti also cov­ered the pedestal. "We don't need re­minders of where we came from. We know our strug­gles," he said. "What we need is things that will take us for­ward."

The Rhodes statue was later boarded up. Rhodes has been de­scribed as a "vil­lain" by many, prompt­ing more to want his statue moved. Rhodes, who died in 1902, was "a kind of colo­nial war­lord" and "ar­dent seg­re­ga­tion­ist" who made a for­tune in min­ing and grabbed land from the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion, said Paul May­lam, a his­tory pro­fes­sor at Rhodes Uni­ver­sity in the South African city of Gra­ham­stown. Ngoako Ra­matl­hodi, the min­eral re­sources min­is­ter, said there is "still some way to go" be­fore most South Africans, par­tic­u­larly blacks, ben­e­fit from a min­ing in­dus­try forged many decades ago to ben­e­fit a "se­lect few." Rhodes was also as­so­ci­ated with ed­u­ca­tion and phi­lan­thropy, partly be­cause of schol­ar­ships that carry his name, May­lam said. There have been calls for Rhodes Uni­ver­sity's name to be changed. Uni­ver­sity Vice-Chan­cel­lor Sizwe Mabizela said there should be a re­spect­ful de­bate to de­cide that.

Cape Town res­i­dents won­der about the fate of the tem­ple- like Rhodes Me­mo­rial on the slopes of Devil's Peak moun­tain­ous back­drop, over­look­ing the city. There is also a Rhodes statue in Com­pany's Gar­den, a cen­tral park. One statue arm ges­tures to the dis­tance and, in a call for Bri­tish ter­ri­to­rial ex­pan­sion, a pedestal en­grav­ing reads: "Your hin­ter­land is there."

Some South Africans com­plain that fac­ul­ties at uni­ver­si­ties are mostly white and that West­ern-based cur­ricu­lums ig­nore African cul­ture. Some also as­sert that Nel­son Man­dela, the anti-apartheid leader who was elected pres­i­dent in 1994, was too soft on the white mi­nor­ity who still has much power over the coun­try's econ­omy. South Africa is grap­pling with ques­tions such as should the Rhodes statue and other per­ceived sym­bols of racial op­pres­sion be moth­balled or dis­played as warn­ings of what should never hap­pen again? What, if any­thing, should take their place? Who de­cides? Where does it stop?

The most sweep­ing name change hap­pened in a neigh­bor­ing coun­try whose name changed from Rhode­sia to Zim­babwe in 1980 af­ter white rule ended. Zim­babwe also re­moved Rhodes stat­ues. An­drew Dh­li­wayo, a Zim­bab­wean stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Cape Town, de­scribed the Rhodes statue as a use­ful chan­nel for de­bate. "The fall of the statue won't change much," he said. "It's just for peo­ple to get their views out there."

事件的起因是一名南非抗議學生向開普敦大學的英國殖民主義者塞西爾約翰羅德茲塑像潑糞,而他這番抗議舉動獲得南非全國人民的響應,紛紛要求移除過去白人領袖的其餘塑像。夸祖魯納塔爾大學校園裡頭的英王喬治五世塑像也被潑灑白漆。另外,也有行動份子希望將十九世紀後期南非共和國前總統保羅克魯格的塑像,從首都普里托利亞中央廣場移往博物館擺放。

南非上下正處在一個民心思變的時期,而上述的社會騷動只是其中一部份的反應而已。南非一直到廿年前才結束由少數白人統治的政權,且至今仍受到種族隔離政策的遺毒所影響,這樣的情況經常被指責為該國經濟狀況不平等、教育系統不健全和其他重大議題的主因。姆辛庫魯是一名從開普敦大學畢業的科技顧問,他站在被抗議者用黑色垃圾袋層層包裹起來的羅德茲塑像旁,且塑像的底座還被人寫上污言穢語。姆辛庫魯說:「我們不需要這些事物來提醒我們是怎麼走過來的,我們很清楚那段奮鬥過程。我們需要的是,能夠帶領我們走向未來的事物。」

羅德茲的塑像之後便被人以木板封住。羅德茲一直被許多人形容為一名「惡棍」,因此有更多人希望他的塑像能被移除。南非格拉罕鎮羅德茲大學的歷史教授保羅麥藍表示,一九○二年逝世的羅德茲是「殖民地軍閥」,也是「積極的種族隔離主義者」,他利用當地人替他開礦,並奪取他們的土地而致富。南非礦業部長拉馬特洛迪表示,幾十年前成形的礦業體系只是為了圖利「少數族群」,現今若要讓大多數南非人(尤其是黑人族群)從中得利,「還有一段路要走」。麥藍也說,由於有多項獎學金是以羅德茲之名而設立,因此也有人認為他對教育和慈善事業有所貢獻。目前已有希望羅德茲大學改名的聲浪出現,不過該校副校長馬比澤拉表示,一切還得從長計議。

開普敦魔鬼峰有一座可俯瞰市區且有如神殿般的羅德茲紀念堂,當地居民對於它的未來感到相當好奇。而中央公園「公司花園」也有一座羅德茲塑像還命運未卜。其中,有一座塑像的手臂指向遠方,且底座的雕刻文字寫上:「你的邊境就在那裡」,象徵著大英帝國的領土向外擴展。

某些南非人抱怨,大學教師以白人居多,且課程大多以西方觀點來設計,因而忽略了非洲文化。有人則聲稱,一九九四年當選南非總統的反種族隔離領袖曼德拉對白人太過寬容,使白人至今仍掌握能影響經濟發展的龐大權力。南非正極力思索許多問題,包括羅德茲塑像、以及其他種族壓迫的象徵物是否該移除,或者應該保持原狀,以作為歷史不可重演的警示?此外,移除後要以什麼做為替代?由誰來下決定?又該做到什麼程度才罷休呢?

南非鄰國辛巴威在一九八○年結束白人統治後,將舊國名羅德西亞全面改為現在的名稱,並移除羅德茲的塑像。開普敦大學的辛巴威籍學生德赫里魏由形容,羅德茲塑像移除與否是一個適合辯論的主題。他說:「移除塑像不會帶來太多改變,只是讓人們得以宣洩己見而已。」

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