It is the sixth anniversary of the removal of the Rhodes statue at UCT 

Six years after the removal of the Cecil John Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2015, the university has announced the launch of the Rhodes Must Fall (RMF)  Scholarship. The announcement was made on March 30, 2021 via a message from the UCT vice-chancellor (VC), on the institution’s website. 

“It is this activism [RMF], that pushes us to further interrogate what we are doing to truly transform as an institution. Activism stems from education and we want our students to use their education to make us better as an institution and as people across the globe,” said Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, UCT VC. The scholarship will provide financial assistance to post-graduate scholars who are committed to addressing issues surrounding Black Consciousness, Pan-Africanism and Black Radical Feminism, which are the three founding principles of the RMF movement, read the release from the VC.

The RMF scholarship was launched in conjunction with a lecture on de-colonial activism, which will be held annuallyThe inaugural RMF scholarship public lecture took place on Friday, April 9 and was delivered by former vice chancellor of UCT, emeritus professor Njabulo S. Ndebele. His lecture was titled ‘What will rise after the fall of Rhodes?’.  

“This scholarship is a reminder that education is central to the de-colonial agenda and therefore, central to the RMF project,” said UCT’s SRC president, Declan Dyer. “Education means service to Africa. This should be the essential driving force of the university and RMF scholarship,” Dyer said at the inaugural lecture.  

The research produced through the scholarship will foster continuous debates on transformation, decolonisation and overall structural change in the socio-political landscape of South Africa. Students that are funded by the RMF scholarship will present their research to discussion forums to promote such conversations. The fund seeks to provide financial support to those who can contribute to the decolonisation of higher education. 

The university has established an endowment fund to support successive generations in accessing the scholarship.  

FEATURED IMAGE: The Cecil John Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town (UCT) which was removed in response to students’ demands. Photo: File.