I suggest that Cape Town social/religious/business/political leaders as a collective under the guidance of the Heritage Council embark on a proactive approach regarding the removal of offensive symbols etc. Instead of having the process hijacked by opportunistic politically charged chaos, I suggests developing a regional Apartheid museum like the one in Pretoria and similar to the Jewish museum.
Museums are spaces for intelligence and reflection. This would allow opportunity for divisive or any political materials to be exhibited with a broad historical overview articulating varied aspects of the said person’s impact on the pre and post-Apartheid era.
Instead of embracing an Islamic State/ Taliban approach by destroying artefacts and statues etc, future generations can formulate their opinions about the contribution of the individual in question. Hiding history is just as bad as trying to rewrite or white wash history. The point is that historical truth, whatever it might be, must be given opportunity to speak for itself figuratively.
Ironically, while most focus on the Rhodes statue at UCT it is vital to note that throughout history whenever a dominant force dons authority it very often dismantles the conquered empire symbols.
Example the Romans destroyed the Temple of Solomon and so did Nebuchadnezzar when he enslaved the Jews. Centuries later, the Apostles of Jesus of Nazareth destroyed the pagan idols worshipped in Babylon and Rome when Christianity spread into these new territories. In all fairness has anyone thought of returning these Christian sites back to the materialists, our pagans of today?
Who knows what will happen in another century. Will those that are so zealous about current issues even be recalled? Will our current political conquerors recorded in street renaming be renamed once again?
In the words of the wise, the meek shall inherit the earth.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress