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Oxford University Students Mark First Year of ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ Campaign with ‘Mass March for Decolonization’


Students campaigned for the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University, and led a protest march past controversial landmarks in the city linked to Britain’s colonial past.

The demonstration on Wednesday, March 9, called the “mass march for decolonization,” the alternative walking tour of Oxford, marked one year since the Rhodes Must Fall campaign began — originally against a statue at the University of Cape Town, with students calling for the decolonization of education in South Africa.

The Rhodes Must Fall campaign in Oxford called for the university to remove its monument to Rhodes, a Victorian imperialist who supported apartheid-style measures.

After the statue in Cape Town was pulled down in April last year, students in universities across the globe have been campaigning to draw attention to the colonial legacies of great seats of learning.

Oriel College said it would hold a consultation over the statue’s future but rowed back when many influential donors threatened to withdraw funds if the monument was removed.

Students have also called for the university to take radical action to increase the numbers of Black and ethnic minority students attending Oxford.

Sites for Wednesday’s Oxford march, which began at midday, included the statue of Rhodes at Oriel College as well as All Souls College’s Codrington library, named after a 17th-century slaver who left money to the university.

It also passed by Rhodes House, home of the Rhodes Trust, which administers scholarships funded by Rhodes’ legacy, and the Old Indian Institute building, where Indian civil servants were trained under the British Empire.


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