The Economic Freedom Fighters says former president FW de Klerk’s view on the Oxford University’s Rhodes Must Fall movement shows he does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize he shares with Nelson Mandela.
“If De Klerk does not see the importance of the demand by Oxford students that Rhodes’ statue must be removed in the United Kingdom, then he does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize he received alongside Mandela,” spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement.
“We therefore call on the Nobel Peace Prize committee to recall De Klerk’s award completely and re-issue it to Nelson Mandela posthumously as it is clear he should have never shared it with De Klerk in the first place.”
The backlash against De Klerk follows a report by the Agence France-Presse on a letter De Klerk wrote to The Times in the UK calling the student movement against colonialist Cecil John Rhodes “folly”.
“If the political correctness of today were applied consistently, very few of Oxford’s great figures would pass scrutiny,” he reportedly said.
“We do not commemorate historic figures for their ability to measure up to current conceptions of political correctness, but because of their actual impact on history,” De Klerk was quoted as saying.
He went further to say: “My people – the Afrikaners – have greater reason to dislike Rhodes than anyone else. He was the architect of the Anglo-Boer War that had a disastrous impact on our people. Yet the National Party government never thought of removing his name from our history.”
Ndlozi said the party was disgusted by De Klerk’s open rejection of the plans to remove the statue.
“By extension, it means De Klerk thinks there was a time when apartheid or colonisation was politically correct, which renders his apologies for it futile. The only reason apartheid would not remove Cecil John Rhodes’ statue is because it shared the same ideas of anti-black racism, colonial expansionism and conquest as he did,” he said.
Ndlozi said De Klerk’s defence of Rhodes’ effectively meant he was saying it was right for Rhodes to be recognised for being a colonialist.
“These views must be considered as a withdrawal of his apology for apartheid since, for him, it was politically correct. The essence is, there is no system of anti-black racism and mass murder of black people that will ever be politically correct; it was wrong in the past, in the present and it will be in the future,” he said.
Ndlozi added that the EFF supports all students in Oxford University for their unconditional demand that #RhodesMustFall. News24