On with his head! Rhodes Memorial statue gets repaired

The statue of Cecil John Rhodes at the Rhodes Memorial in Newlands forest, Cape Town, after it was repaired, 23 September 2020. Picture: Supplied

‘It was learnt that a local ward councilor and police knew the names of the vandals and would come forward in due course,’ the Friends of Rhodes Memorial stated.

The Cecil John Rhodes statue whose head was vandalized on Saturday night, 19 July 2020, was restored and welded back by Friends of Rhodes Memorial (FORM) on Wednesday, 23 September, in time for Heritage Day on 24 September.

The head, which was cut of and weighed over 80kg, was found 50 meters away from the torso by a Friend of Rhodes Memorial in low scrub three days after it had been cut off, and handed over to SANParks for assessment, FORM said in a statement.

“During this time FORM made an appeal to SANParks for its restoration and offered a solution to place it back. At first FORM were told that the head would not be returned, and it might well end up in a proposed ANC-inspired theme park.

“Through persistence, The Friends pushed for a petition as well as put pressure on the Western Cape Heritage and Cape Town City to get the head back. During this time it was learnt that a local ward councilor and police knew the names of the vandals and would come forward in due course,” the statement said.

“In addition to restoring the head the all sculptures at Rhodes Memorial have been 3D scanned and full size replicas have been made as a replacement to counter any damage until the vandals are caught.

“Additional international trends of anti vandalism measures including the filling of industrial cement and iron in the statue, as well as the installation of a GPS tracker and other electronic alarm systems, have been installed,” the statement concluded.

(Compiled by Carina Koen)

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