Cecil Rhodes

The name Hitler does not offend a black South African because Hitler is not the worst thing a black South African can imagine. Every country thinks their history is the most important, and that’s especially true in the West. But if black South Africans could go back in time and kill one person, Cecil Rhodes would come up before Hitler. If people in the Congo could go back in time and kill one person, Belgium’s King Leopold would come way before Hitler. If Native Americans could go back in time and kill one person, it would probably be Christopher Columbus or Andrew Jackson.

I often meet people in the West who insist that the Holocaust was the worst atrocity in human history, without question. Yes, it was horrific. But I often wonder, with African atrocities like in the Congo, how horrific were they? The thing Africans don’t have that Jewish people do have is documentation. The Nazis kept meticulous records, took pictures, made films. And that’s really what it comes down to. Holocaust victims count because Hitler counted them. Six million people killed. We can all look at that number and be rightly horrified. But when you read through the history of atrocities against Africans, there are no numbers, only guesses. It’s harder to be horrified by a guess. When Portugal and Belgium were plundering Angola and the Congo, they weren’t counting the black people they slaughtered. How many black people died harvesting rubber in the Congo? In the gold and diamond mines of the Transvaal?

So in Europe and America, yes, Hitler is the Greatest Madman in History. In Africa he’s just another strongman from the history books.

—  Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Every black child in grade school is taught Adolph Hitler killed six million Jews and is the worst human being that ever lived. On the other hand our children are taught “The Right Honorable” Cecil Rhodes the founder of the De Beer diamond company in South Africa who killed ten times that number of Africans is a hero and a statesman and if they study hard and do well in school they may be eligible to win Rhodes Scholarships the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world. They don’t mention the scholarships are paid for with the blood of their ancestors.

If you don’t know your history, you can expect to continue to be a fool, used and abused by the oppressor.  


Professor: “So at the time Zimbabwe…”
Me: *whisper* “Rhodesia”
Professor: “The miners in 1920s Zimbabwe…”
Me: *whisper* “Rhodesia”
Professor: “The laws in Zimbabwe…”
Me: *whisper* “Rhodesia”

Listen it was Southern Rhodesia/Rhodesia until 1980 so call it what it was. If you were talking about West Germany and East Germany you wouldn’t just say “Germany” because that’s not what it was called at the time.

“I removed the flag not only in defiance of those who enslaved my ancestors in the southern United States, but also in defiance of the oppression that continues against black people globally in 2015, including the ongoing ethnic cleansing in the Dominican Republic. I did it in solidarity with the South African students who toppled a statue of the white supremacist, colonialist Cecil Rhodes. I did it for all the fierce black women on the front lines of the movement and for all the little black girls who are watching us. I did it because I am free.” -Bree Newsome. TEESPRING.COM/OURSTORY

Cecil the Lion was named after Cecil Rhodes the colonialist from England. There is even a Rhodes scholarship after him too. He even has a University named after him in South Africa and a country named after him called Rhodesia which is now Zimbabwe and Zambia.

He is responsible for the suffering of millions of Africans but he is still deemed as a hero. People like Mussolini or Hitler aren’t deemed as heroes like him. I guess there is a double standard depending on the people who you attack.

The Colossus of Rhodes

A lot of people are talking about Cecil Rhodes today in the wake of the removal of his statue at the University of Cape Town.  Now, if you wanted to contest the man’s legacy, there might have been better messaging strategies than literally flinging shit at his likeness, but… nevermind, let’s just move on.

To celebrate the occasion, tumblr has been gathering anecdotes of Rhodes’ misrule in his formerly eponymous state.  Some of these accounts are a little hard to swallow.  (For instance, I see in my dash that Rhodes currently stands accused of murdering half the population of Africa.)  But let’s assume for the moment that they are all true.

Here is where things get awkward.

I am very sympathetic to arguments of the form: “colonial administrators were insensitive to whole spheres of the utility function, such as the welfare of black Africans, so you’d expect those affairs to be chronically mismanaged as a result.”  That seems at least prima facie plausible to me.

And yet when you compare Rhodesia to Zimbabwe, the picture is not exactly flattering to the project of decolonization.

So, in the small, painting Rhodes as a brutal, incompetent dictator is a fine way to say: “boo, colonialism!”  But in the large, the worse Rhodes was, the better colonialism as a system looks in comparison.  To comfortably account for what happened afterwards in Zimbabwe, you’d really want to view Rhodes et al. as abnormally competent governors, one-in-a-million Sachsian powerhouses who managed to beat the democratic average despite the bad incentives.

If Rhodes and his successors were of merely average or below average proficiency, benevolence, corruptibility, &c., on the other hand, then it seems all the more difficult to explain the subsequent transition to democratic rule.

British Imperial Federation

Just been reading up on Cecil Rhodes. His views were pretty based tbh.

He wanted to the British Empire to become an Imperial Federation where the British dominated countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Cape Colony) would have representation in the British Parliament, effectively creating a superstate ensuring imperial unity whilst still allowing for a democratic government. This would allow Britain to share the costs of imperial defence. 

Many supporters of this believed that the United Kingdom would have two possible futures; imperial union and continued long-term importance or imperial dissolution and the reduction of the status of the UK to a second-class nation. Which is pretty true considering we no longer have an empire and are no longer a superpower.

He also wanted the US to rejoin the Empire and have a strong alliance with Germany as he believed Britain, USA and Germany would dominate the world and ensure peace.

Man this would of been great for Britain if this happened but WW1 & WW2 happened and support faded as colonies started to gain individual identity. But ideas similar to this have risen in recent years, especially with the skepticism of the EU, for Britain to leave the EU and start a Commonwealth Federation of UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in similar fashion to the EU.

Anyone else got opinions on this?