History can't be unmade

13 April 2015

Reinette Popplestone
Disability Unit

"Who is it that first said that not even God can change the past? It seems to me much more crucial to learn from the past than in some way to try to unmake it. I am 100% with Jonathan Jansen on that.

"We cannot unmake centuries of history. We cannot unmake the architecture of the university. The university stands on perhaps the most valuable piece of real estate in the peninsula, bequeathed by that old scoundrel Rhodes. I assume that in complex ways the university's endowments continue to be fed by individuals and bodies which have strong links with our colonial past. Is the university likely to find itself losing benefactors? Is that an inappropriate question?

"I have little real sense of the power of symbols. Would I feel differently if I could see?

"Will removing the statue improve UCT's employment equity profile? Will it enhance the quality of teaching and support students receive? Will it increase the number of staff with disabilities the university employs and the number of students with disabilities the university admits?

"And most pressingly for me, will it provide the funding we so desperately need to improve services for staff and students with disabilities already on campus? If it will, by all means remove the statue. And certainly, if it will go some way towards uniting our currently strife–torn university community, let's get rid of the thing."

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Monday Monthly

Volume 34 Edition 03

13 Apr 2015

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