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South Africa: Heart of Darkness – the Falling of Statues and the Conundrum of Offensive Books

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The answer to the issue of statues of evil people is that no amount of reimagination will be sufficient to atone for their evil deeds and, therefore, they belong in museums. But what do we do with books like Mein Kampf or Heart of Darkness?

Princeton University, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, has dropped the name Woodrow Wilson from its policy school. Wilson was a celebrated professor and later president of Princeton, as well as the Governor of New Jersey and the 28th President of the United States. But Wilson was also known for enforcing racial discrimination in the public service.

The reason Princeton dropped the name of Wilson – 73 years after it honoured him – is because of the anti-racism movement that has gripped the world by storm after the brutal murder of George Floyd. This movement has grown so substantially that statues of cruel men who were enslavers and colonisers have already fallen.

The University of Oxford has, for example, agreed to remove the statue of Cecil John Rhodes, who pillaged southern Africa through violence and murder. The Charleston City Council voted to remove the statue of a former US Vice-President, John Calhoun….

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