Rhodes Must Fall Is The Road To Nowhere

rhodes must fall burning art

By their bitter fruits shall ye know them.

When Robert Mugabe began ordering the forcible seizure of white-owned farms in 2000, Zimbabwe was known as the “bread basket” of Africa.

In almost every year since, Zimbabwe has experienced a man-made famine.

Sixteen years ago, the country’s agricultural sector produced 3m tons of maize; nearly twice as much as it needed to feed its populace. This year, it is projected to produce 600 000 tons. A third of what it needs.

When the so-called Zimbabwean “war veterans” were making daily headlines all over the world with their violent farm invasions, I had a conversation with a radical liberal who tartly remarked, “Well, I can see why they’re angry. Who can blame them?”

This “radical” now lives a very comfortable, middle-class life in London with no dietary concerns whatsoever. In fact, he’s somewhat of a glutton.

I see people displaying the same misguided sympathy towards the destructive Rhodes Must Fall movement.

RMF took a dark turn, this week, when its members began looting and burning what they called “white art” from the University of Cape Town campus.

As per usual, their enablers in the media and on social media made feeble excuses for their bad behaviour, patronisingly reminding us that “that they certainly have a lot to be angry about”. As if the ends always justify the means.

What is the actual logical connection between the ends and the means in this case? How does destroying art materially improve the lives of the poor and desperate?

I don’t think there is any. It simply gives the RMF activists and their supporters a bit of a thrill to act out their anger in this way. They want to strike fear into the hearts of the so-called “colonisers” – whoever they might be.

RMF has its own agenda. As a movement, if it broadens out into the wider society, it will not lead to prosperity and the upliftment of the poor. It will take the same road to nowhere that the divisive revolution against “whiteness” and “colonialism” in Zimbabwe did.

I don’t trust anybody who burns art. I don’t care how frustrated they claim to be. That is a deeply fascistic act that only has gruesome historic precedents.

Pick the leaders of your revolution wisely. Not every one who promises “change” is capable of achieving it, as the empty shelves and untilled land of Zimbabwe sadly show.

Candice Holdsworth

Candice Holdsworth is the founder and editor of Imagine Athena. It is mythologised that she sprang fully formed from its pages. Candice has an MSc in Political Philosophy from the London School of Economics, and thus can be most commonly found discussing ideas and culture. Her writing can also be found on Thought Leader and On Netflix Now. Follow her on Twitter @CandiceCarrie and Instagram @candicecholdsworth