Members of a radical black South African movement have burned and charred a monument to British soldiers who died in the Boer Wars (1899-1902), describing it as a “colonial statue”.
The protesters “put (a burning) tyre over the statue” of a soldier in the centre of the southern town of Uitenhage, police warrant officer Basil Seekoei told AFP.
Responsibility for the incident on Thursday was swiftly claimed by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a political party formed in 2013 by Julius Malema, formerly the firebrand youth leader of the ruling African National Congress, which expelled him after a conviction for hate speech.
Luxolo Jacobs, a self-proclaimed youth in the EFF, posted two photos on Twitter of the statue in flames and covered in plastic by party militants, with a message to Mr Malema:
“The statue of the Anglo-Boer War fell in Uitenhage. When the Leadership speaks fighters respond,”
The incident follows calls by Mr Malema to bring down statues of South Africa’s former white leaders, British and Afrikaner alike.
“We said that economic liberation must be accompanied by the falling of these colonial statues and we would want to see them replaced by liberation hero statues,”
– EFF Regional Deputy Chairperson Bo Madwara said on state-run SABC television.
Tensions between Boers and blacks highly escalated in the recent years. Minority Boers have to live in constant fear as they very often suffer not just robbery but aggravated assault and murder in the once prosperous country now ruled by the black majority.
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