Free Speech Debate organised a panel discussion on the Rhodes Must Fall campaign and its future. In this video and its highlights, panelists debate the range of issues surrounding the campaign and its impact on free speech. Panelists include Dr David Johnson, Professor David Priestland, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh and Monica Richter.
The issue of the presence of a statue of Cecil Rhodes overlooking a main street in Oxford lit up debate at the university from 2015, led by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign. Inspired by a similar movement at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, the campaign called for the removal of the statue alongside curriculum changes and measures to combat racial discrimination. This provoked a debate on free speech at the university and a range of other controversial issues.
Chaired by Timothy Garton Ash, Free Speech Debate hosted a panel discussion at St Antony’s College in 2016 entitled ‘Rhodes has not fallen. What next for Rhodes Must Fall?’ The intial focus was on whether the statue debate had increased or reduced free speech, followed by commentary on other speech issues the campaign had highlighted.
The panelists broadly opposing the campaign included Dr David Johnson, an education expert who spent much time in southern Africa, and Monica Richter, an FSD contributor who wrote an article criticising the movement here.
Panelists more supportive of the campaign included Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, a leading Rhodes Must Fall campaigner who wrote an article for Free Speech Debate on the movement here, and Professor David Priestland, a historian of the Soviet Union and ideologies.