Rhodes Must Fall Scholarship Fund and annual lecture

30 March 2021 | VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

Dear colleagues and students

I write to announce that, following an initiative of the Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) Scholarship Committee as proposed by student activists at the University of Cape Town, we will launch the #RMF Scholarship Fund and host an RMF lecture next month. The lecture will thereafter be hosted annually.

The launch event will take place on Friday, 9 April 2021 at 18:00. At this event, former UCT Vice-Chancellor Emeritus Professor Njabulo S Ndebele will present the keynote lecture titled “What will rise after the fall of Rhodes?”.

Emeritus Professor Ndebele chairs the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. He is the chancellor of the University of Johannesburg and has played numerous leadership roles in higher education in both South Africa and Lesotho. His many accolades include the National Research Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 and the Arts and Culture Trust Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature in 2020. Professor Ndebele has been awarded 13 honorary doctorates from universities in South Africa, the United States, Japan and Europe.

It has been six years since the activism by our students resulted in one of the notable transformation moments for the university when the statue of Cecil John Rhodes was removed from campus.

It is this activism 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.

The RMF movement has changed the way that we think about the production of new knowledge across South Africa, on the African continent and abroad. Activism inherent to RMF has served to stimulate in-depth analysis on the decolonisation of education and curriculum transformation, the meaning of ‘Fallism’ as an institutional critique, and the legacy of institutional racism.

A particular contribution of the movement has been an intersection of Black Consciousness, Pan-Africanism and Black Radical Feminism as tools of analysis and socio-political lenses through which to view society. The scholarship fund seeks to ensure the next generation of activists, theorists and scholars working within these fields of study have access to financial support for postgraduate studies that contribute richness and diverse voices to the decolonisation of higher education.

We look forward to welcoming you to this important event.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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