The recent #RhodesMustFall campaign provoked vital conversations about the colonial heritage of the country. Understandably, the monuments and artworks representing colonial history created a sense of unease among the students, which was emphasized by the institutional racism of the university.
The 1820 Settler’s Monument
Recently, the Makana community has been discussing the possibility of a name change for the monument that commemorate the European settlers who arrived in and colonized Grahamstown in 1820.
The large structure stands proudly on the hill, towering over Grahamstown. The Grahamstown Foundation has been working to recolonize the space. “I have enormous respect and admiration for the foundation,” says former Constitutional Court judge, Albie Sachs. “They do really outstanding work and an enormous amount of educational work; the Science festival and school children come here… they’re working with minimal resources and it’s touch and go.”
According to the CEO of the National Arts Festival, Tony Lankester, The Grahamstown Foundation is in the process of deciding to change the name. The Monument is home to the National Arts Festival, a major tourism event for the town, generating substantial income.However, as the National Arts Festival are only tenants of the monument, Lankester says they “can’t take a unilateral decision on what to call it.” Lankester adds, “[NAF doesn’t] refer to the ‘1820 Settler s Monument’ anywhere. Everywhere we mention it, we call it ‘the Monument’, because of our taking a position on the subject.”
To read more on the discussion of renaming historical architecture and artwork, click the link below.