South Africa 20.7.2018 01:50 pm

What Twitter thinks of Paul Kruger’s grave being vandalised

The grave of Paul Kruger after it was vandalised. Picture: Federasie van Afrikaanse. Kultuurvereniginge)

The grave of Paul Kruger after it was vandalised. Picture: Federasie van Afrikaanse. Kultuurvereniginge)

Reactions to the vandalism of Paul Kruger’s grave are, unsurprisingly, largely divided along racial and cultural lines.

The grave of Paul Kruger, the president of what used to be the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek, or the Transvaal Republic, was vandalised on Thursday.

A bust of the Afrikaner leader near the grave was also damaged during the incident.

It was reported that the Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge (FAK) condemned the incident.

“Despite the Department of Arts and Culture’s view that statues and monuments should not be damaged, the political will to stop the vandalism of Afrikaner heritage remains lacking,” the FAK said.

According to the FAK’s managing director, Danie Langer, Kruger’s grave has been vandalised before, in 1995.

A marble statue was damaged in an incident that also caused significant damage to the rest of the grave, with the cracks still visible today. The marble statue was replaced by the bronze one that was vandalised in this latest incident.

When the marble statue was vandalised, it caused significant damage to the rest of the grave structure, with the cracks still visible through the message written on it.

What those on Twitter feel about the incident varies sharply, and appears to largely be defined along racial and cultural lines.

An Afrikaans, one white Twitter user calling himself Nicolaas J Prinsloo said the incident was an indication of “what’s happening to the Afrikaner History”.

This contrasts with the thoughts of a black user who called Kruger a “nonsense parasite” and said that “those who vandalised the grave must soldier on towards Verwoerd’s grave”.

An Afrikaans woman tweeted about it with the hashtag #LawlessSouthAfrica; a black woman said “Paul Kruger had a grave while our people were buried in a mass grave”.

One Afrikaans man simply asked why anyone would vandalise the grave.

Another user, seemingly an Afrikaans woman, said: “I suppose we can’t expect respect for the dead when there is no respect for life.”

As with many issues in South Africa, whether Kruger is seen as a great leader or an oppressor depends on who you are and where you stand politically.

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