13 Apr Sipho Mpongo Photographs #RhodesMustFall
Last Thursday, the 9th of April, #RhodesFell. This followed after a month of heated protests and discussions lead by the #RhodesMustFall movement, the collective of students and staff campaigning for the removal of the controversial statue of Cecil John Rhodes from the UCT campus as well as institutional transformation at the university.
“Who is Rhodes? What did he do to people of colour? Why should he fall? Why does UCT glorify him?” These were some of the questions that young photographer Sipho Mpongo had when the #RhodesMustFall campaign first started. “It evoked a lot of anger and misunderstanding for many people and that spiked interesting conversations about colonisation, white privilege and the black pain in South Africa,” he adds. Still reflecting on the ‘born free generation’ which he spent 7 months travelling around the country documenting last year, Sipho headed to the occupied Azania House (the renamed Bremner Building) to participate in the debates and photograph the buildup to and monumental fall of the Rhodes statue.
A female student broke into tears while discussing why women matter and how we are still leaving in a patriarchal society that does not respect women. She could not understand why a male student would disagree with the topic while women are being raped almost everyday in South Africa.
Students sacrificed their comfortable beds to camp at the Azania House as a form of resistance to the colonial institutionalisation at the University of Cape Town.
Inside the Azania House at night.
A drunk 45 year old Afrikaner man got up on the statue of Cecil John Rhodes and removed the plastic that was covering him and shouted that the statue is not going anywhere because Cecil John Rhodes funded University of Cape Town.
Workers waiting to remove the statue of Cecil John Rhodes.
Students threw red paint at the statue of Cecil John Rhodes and enchained it after being removed.
A student punching the statue of Cecil John Rhodes after being removed.
The statue of Cecil John Rhodes removed and placed on a truck, ready to be transported out of the campus.
Students watching the removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town.
Lookout for a feature interview with Sipho coming up soon as part of Photography Month!