I’m sure you know that Cecil John Rhode’s statue was recently removed from the Cape Town University because of a whole bunch of issues including being a colonialist and messing up everyone’s lives. And, it looks like the activists have their eyes on Paul Kruger’s statue too.
I don’t want to get into they why’s and wherefores of the debate because it is not germane to the point I want to make.
Maybe there’s another view. It doesn’t matter what tribe you belong to, but in one form or another, it tried to colonise and subjugate someone – British, Germans, Zulus, Afrikaners, Spanish, Viking, Hun, Americans and the like.
Understand that becoming human is an iterative process and yes, massive mistakes have been made along the way and are still going to be made along the way.
But we are all here and benefiting from all those that have come before us. We are standing on the shoulders of giants.
Let’s take Britain for example. It’s cool to bash them, isn’t it? The Afrikaner tribe for the atrocities in the Boer War and other tribes for colonising them. But, think about the British inventions that we all benefit from today (and, this is just a handful):
- The first telephone – Alexander Graham Bell
- The first steam locomotive – Richard Trevithick
- The first television – John Logie Baird
- World Wide Web – Tim Berners-Lee
- The first programmable computer – Charles Babbage
- Sports we enjoy in South Africa – football, cricket, rugby and tennis
- The light bulb – Joseph Swan (yup he beat Edison to it)
- Hypodermic syringe – Alexander Wood
- Synthetic dye – William Perkin
- Toothbrush – William Addis
- Safety bicycle – John Kemp Starley
- Cement – Joseph Aspdin
- Stainless Steel – Harry Brearley
- Photography – William Henry Fox Talbot
- Sewage System – Joseph Bazalgette
- Tin can – Peter Durand
If you go back in the annals of history, you’ll find that pretty much every tribe in this world has contributed something that we are benefiting from.