Campaigners to reveal next moves in bid to get rid of Cecil Rhodes statue


Campaigners are set to outline the next steps in their fight to get rid of a statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes from the front of an Oxford University college.

The governing body of Oriel College said last week that it had decided after "careful consideration" to keep the statue after receiving an "overwhelming" amount of support to do so.

Campaign group Rhodes Must Fall, which collected more than 2,000 signatures on a petition demanding the statue's removal, said it represents racism and oppression, and have vowed to continue their fight to remove it.

They called the decision to keep it "outrageous, dishonest, and cynical" and will detail their plans at a press conference at Regent's Park College this morning.

Oriel College has dismissed reports that donors had threatened to withdraw gifts and bequests worth more than £100 million if it was removed, saying the financial implications were "not even a major factor" in the decision.

It comes after after the University of Cape Town last year decided to remove a similar statue of the man, following a student protest.

Rhodes was a student at Oxford and a member of Oriel College in the 1870s. He left money to the college on his death in 1902.

Scholarships in his name have so far been awarded to more than 8,000 overseas students.

Rhodes served as prime minister of the British Empire's Cape Colony, including South Africa, in the early 1890s and has been linked to Apartheid-style policies.

The college has distanced itself from Rhodes' views, saying in a statement in December: "Rhodes was also a 19th-century colonialist whose values and world view stand in absolute contrast to the ethos of the scholarship programme today, and to the values of a modern university."