Rhodes statue has fallen but debate carries on regardless

THE Herald’s Facebook page saw thousands of conflicting views following the EFF’s vandalism of Port Elizabeth’s Horse Memorial while the party vowed to target more statues in the Bay.

Almost daily users have taken to The Herald’s online platform to debate, discuss and, often regrettably, get hostile over the controversial topic.

It seems online users were mostly split into two groups, the #EverythingMustFall group and the #ThisAchievesNothing group, with the majority in the #ThisAchievesNothing group.

On the one hand, users like Nakita Scheepers and Hannelie Feyt feel it was a futile exercise. “No one can rewrite history, it’s in the past, it’s over and done with, just accept it and move on,” wrote Scheepers.

Sekelwa Gqwangu had a similar view. “This is our history, and it will remain even if they destroy these (statues). I think they are wasting their time.”

Hannelie Feyt wrote: “How does this take away the history or make it better, how does it create more jobs, how does it put food on the table, how does it improve roads, and any and all infrastructure?”

But, the conversation was not without those supporting the idea. Charleine Olivier said: “We can start demolishing all statues in this country. Every group has been hurt by every other group at some time in history up until today!”

Keith Mvuyisi Peter showed his support for the EFF. “Viva EFF Viva. Apartheid statues must fall.

“This is a campaign of the EFF and you cannot stop or change it , just be happy EFF is doing this for free.”

More constructively though, many also felt there was a way forward without destroying monuments. Branden Goliath argued for the removal of all statues “and put it in a museum then there will be maybe nothing left to destroy”.

Williams Bramley shared this sentiment: “Was there no history behind the South African old flag? But it was removed and we moved on. Let’s use the same system even now . . Remove all those old South African symbols and move on as a country.”

Porcha Partington and many others however felt that the statue should be restored and replaced. “It is part of our history,” she wrote.

The debate continues but at the heart of the issue seems to be South Africans’ seeming inability to walk a mile in each other’s shoes. Paul Mzwandile Bafana Nkunzi’s pleas is possibly the one comment out of all the thousands of conversations born out of this issue, that everyone should take to heart:

“Calling each other names just confirms that you are not different from the hooligans/cowards on this post. South Africa needs better people, if we can join forces and fight for a better South Africa for us and our children. Then we will triumph.”

-Dorette de Swardt, Social Media Watch

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