Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Rhodes Less Travelled

I have just started a second book on Cecil Rhodes. He has become the symbol for the decolonisation project and I don't know all that much about him. I suspect that is true for most of the people on both sides of the #RhodesMustFall divide. I also suspect most people in the debate don't know much about Colonialism. A lot of the rabbit holes are connected. I am also trying to chip away at the Middle East issues I know very little about. Islam has a longer history than Western Europe in its relationship with Africa. Western Europe was relatively late to the civilisation party. Hunting, Language, Farming and other big leaps happened well before the Industrial Revolution. There were established trade routes between Africa and the East centuries before the first Europeans saw the ruins of previous empires in places like Timbuktu and Great Zimbabwe. It does seem to me that there are more people on the attack, and defending their identities, than in conversation about what lessons we can learn, and how we would like to proceed.

A few questions I would like to answer...
  • Who were the equivalent imperialists/peers of Rhodes?
  • In what context did Rhodes go about his business - what was happening elsewhere in the world at the same time?
  • Who were Rhodes' competitors? What policies would have been followed in a world without Rhodes?
  • What were the key crimes (by today's standards) that he committed?
  • What philosophical underpinnings were driving his actions? What was his world view?

Please add to the list.

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