Christopher Columbus did discover America; for white people. Babe Ruth did hit the most home runs; for white people. Elvis Presley was the greatest Rock n Roller of all time; for white people. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were great men; for white people. Hendrik Verwoerd was a great leader; for white people. Vasco De Gama discovered South Africa: for white people. Cecil Rhodes was a great man; for white people. All of these men have the same thing in common, they did things that made them great to their race, so any celebration of them should be; for white people. Having their statues, buildings, streets and schools named after them in the places where they created their legacy by exploiting and murdering the native people whose descendants now have to see those statues every day is a deliberate and calculated reminder aimed at perpetuating the idea of white superiority.
Black people throughout the diaspora should be joining in solidarity with the brothers and sisters in South Africa as they call for the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes from their college campus. This is a man who saw Africa as his personal property and Africans as the servants to keep it tidy. This is the man who planned to build a railroad from Cape Town to Cairo for the sole purpose of conquering the land, Zambia became Northern Rhodesia and Zimbabwe became Rhodesia and when he died, he made arrangements to have himself buried on one of the highest peak in Zimbabwe because he said “he never wanted a kaffir to be above him.” Here in Richmond Virginia U.S.A I can drive on the Jefferson Davis highway named for the first president of the slavery defending southern states. The 20 dollar bill holds the face of Andrew Jackson a celebrated racist and bigot who was responsible for the Trail of Tears that resulted in the annihilation and relocation to reservations of the Native Americans. Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina still all use version of the confederate flag in their state flag today. Throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America, statues and street names liter the Capital Cities, reminding the people why they now speak broken English and Spanish and French and Portuguese.
We as African Peoples across the Diaspora continue to elect and support leaders who do nothing about these colonial remnants. They worry about what the white people will say and do if they act. They convince us that they; we are surrendering these small loses for bigger victories. They put their personal comforts over those of the people and allow the status quo to remain the same. They make business deals with foreign countries and companies that take raw minerals out of Africa for pennies and then import the finished products back at prices the people can only dream of affording.
We need a new vanguard of leadership, one that comes from the young people, the real caretakers of this new century we are venturing into. The brothers and Sisters who with health and luck will live the majority of their life in the 21st century. A generation with enough distance from those times to put them in prospective. A generation who will right colonial wrongs because they are unjust and racist and not allow the memories of subservient day to influence their decisions. Afrikaners still control the wealth and land in South Africa. In Zimbabwe there is still a debate over land redistribution. In the Caribbean the majority of the businesses catering to tourism are owned by white foreigner who build replicas or refurbish plantations house back to their slavery day splendor.
It’s time for these statues to be removed and returned to sender, Rhodes and his cohorts made Europe great, their statues belong there. There should also be a moratorium on how these statues and other honors are placed and given when the entire population is subject to experiencing them. And in the places where the names or statues aren’t removed they should be an updated plaque that tell the complete story of their exploits. As for Rhodes burial site in Zimbabwe, the government should install a 24 hour public toilet over it.