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The Colossus of Cecil Rhodes

The Colossus of Cecil Rhodes


A definition of the noun:

‘a carved or cast figure of a person

or animal, especially one

that is life-size or larger’;

And if the statue of Cecil Rhodes could speak,

We might catch these words on an Oxford wind:

‘Why should we not form a secret society,

with but one object,

the furtherance of the British Empire,

and the bringing of the whole world

under British rule …’

‘We must find new lands from which we can easily

obtain raw materials and … exploit

the cheap slave labour that is available

from the natives of the colonies.

The colonies would also provide a dumping ground …’

‘Remember that you are an Englishman,

and have consequently won first prize

in the lottery of life.’

‘In order to save the forty million inhabitants

of the United Kingdom from a bloody civil war,

our colonial statesmen must acquire new lands …’

‘To think of these stars that you see overhead at night,

these vast worlds which we can never reach.

I would annex the planets if I could …’

‘I contend that we are the first race in the world

and the more of the world we inhabit

the better it is for the human race …

if there be a God, I think what he would like me to do

is paint as much of the map of Africa

British-Red as possible …’

‘Africa is still lying ready for us,

it is our duty to take it ...’

‘As a former student of Oriel College and now a professional planning consultant, it's disappointing that the college says the removal of the Rhodes statue would be financially challenging ... With assets of a mere £104 m (accounts to July 2020) and gift income of £2.65m last year, by way of a favour to my alma mater, I would be prepared to offer the college my services at a discount.'

Charlie Hopkins

'Here we go again - the bogus argument that removing statues is "censoring history", as parroted by Gavin Williamson and some bloke at the Policy Exchange thinktank ... Let us remind ourselves why statues and monuments are erected - to celebrate a person or event. That is why Rhodes' statue is on the facade of Oriel College. It does not record history; that is in archives, documents, imagery, books and minds. History persists and is not censored, erased or changed by the removal of a few statues.'

Martin Platt


I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear -- "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.'


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