Library exhibition on Rhodes Memorial

08 January 2012

UCT Libraries is celebrating one of Cape Town's iconic landmarks, Rhodes Memorial, with an exhibition in the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library on upper campus, using material sourced from various collections housed in its Special Collections. Cecil John Rhodes, imperialist, politician and mining magnate, purchased large swathes of the eastern slopes of Devil's Peak, which he bequeathed to the South African nation. One slice was used to create the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, another became the site of the University of Cape Town, and the remainder now forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.

Rhodes' foresight has given Cape Town an area of pristine beauty right on its very doorstep. The intention of the curators, Mary van Blommenstein of the Irma Stern Museum and Bev Angus of UCT Libraries Special Collections, is to look at Rhodes Memorial as a work of art. The monument was designed by Sir Herbert Baker, while George Frederick Watts sculpted Physical Energy, the horse and rider, and John Macallan Swann was responsible for the lions and the bust of Cecil John Rhodes. Rudyard Kipling provided the inscription below the bust. The curators hope the viewers will visit this exhibition and look with new eyes at this monument, which has been an integral part of Cape Town's landscape for a hundred years. The Rhodes Memorial Centenary 1912-2012 Exhibition runs from 20 August to 20 November in the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library: Research Wing Lower Level.

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