Johannesburg – The destruction of statues that supposedly have to do with colonialism and white supremacy will only serve to polarise South Africa further, lobby group AfriForum said on Sunday.
“AfriForum condemned calls by the ANC Youth League and EFF [Economic Freedom Fighters] for the removal and even worse, the destruction of statues that supposedly has to do with colonialism and white supremacy,” deputy chief executive for heritage and culture Alana Bailey said in a statement.
“The legacy of public figures never is purely positive or negative. Such figures are interpreted differently by diverse opinion groups and different generations. To remove or destroy a statue does not change the events that led to its creation, nor does it contribute to the ongoing healthy debate about history.”
“Each generation should instead add more historical landmarks to the existing order, thereby ensuring a comprehensive, balanced portrayal of the past.”
“It does not mean that we all have to feel the same about such figures and events, but it does necessitate that we respect the opinion of people who differ from us,” she said.
“People who hastily support the decision to relocate statues for fear of vandalism, succumb to the pressure of populists who incite hatred and intolerance for temporary ideological gains.
“The relocation of historical landmarks would only serve to advance the opinion that some communities in South Africa only made negative contributions to the past.
“If there was no longer space in the public sphere for statues and memorials commemorating the colonial and Afrikaner