RhodesMustFall activists Joshua Nott and Mbali Matandela have accepted R670,000 bursaries from the Rhodes Trust to study at Oxford University in England.
According to the Daily Mail newspaper Nott was a “key publicist” behind the #rhodesmustfall movement at the University of Cape Town to have the statue of Cecil John Rhodes removed from campus.
BusinessTech.co.za now reports Nott is listed among nine scholars who will benefit from the Rhodes Trust – receiving £40,000 (just over R670,000) to study at Oxford University.
During the student uprisings over the Rhodes statue, Nott was quoted as likening the statue to “a Swastika in Jerusalem”, advocating “violent protest” as a means to have the statue removed.
Nott told the Daily Mail that he would “never toast Cecil John Rhodes; and was against his statue being at the Oriel College at Oxford, but would not join the Rhodes Must Fall movement at (Oxford) university.
Nott’s profile on the Rhodes Trust’s website makes no mention of his anti-Rhodes campaigning.
Speaking to the Daily Mail about the scholarship, Nott said “if an underprivileged person could effect as much change … I would easily renounce it, but I firmly believe in myself as someone who can effect immense macro change.”
He has no regrets about his anti-Rhodes campaigning, while the Rhodes Trust told the paper that it was aware of his “wide range of social change initiatives”.
Another Rhodes scholarship winner is Mbalenhle “Mbali” Matandela, who was a vocal and active anti-Rhodes protester. Matandela studied gender and transformation at UCT, and took a strong pro-feminist role in the “fallist” campaigning.
A member of the Rhodes Must Fall movement, Matandela was an advocate for the complete decolonisation of UCT, and wrote that she was part of a generation that “won’t wait for transformation”, reflecting on the Rhodes statue and the burning of ‘colonial’ paintings at UCT.
Nott and Matandela are two of nine South African students awarded scholarships by the Trust, the others being Abigail Branford, Sizwe Mkwanazi, Keitumetse-Kabelo Murray, Saul Musker, Christiaan van der Walt, Emily van Heerden and Fuaad Coovadia.