Cecil John Rhodes

David Kipre

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Cecil John Rhodes (5 July 1853 – 26 March 1902) was a British mining magnate and politician in southern Africa who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. An ardent believer in British imperialism, Rhodes and his British South Africa Company founded the southern African territory of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and Zambia), which the company named after him in 1895. South Africa’s Rhodes University is also named after him. He also devoted much effort to realising his vision of a Cape to Cairo Railway through British territory. Rhodes set up the provisions of the Rhodes Scholarship, which is funded by his estate. Widely acknowledged also as a white supremacist, Rhodes explicitly believed in the superiority of white English people over all others, especially sub-Saharan Africans. He infamously said “to be born English is to win first prize in the lottery of life”. During his political career he successfully confiscated land from the African population of the Cape Colony, and falsely claimed southern African archeological sites such as Great Zimbabwe were built by European civilisations instead.

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