â€œTo the spirit and life work of Cecil John Rhodes who loved and served South Africaâ€
There is a wooden bench below the Rhodes Memorial, the same wooden bench that belonged to and was used by Cecil John Rhodes. This was his favourite spot in the world. Cecil John Rhodes, a man to occupy the imaginations of many a scholar as he never left a diary or journal, and the personal letters that he did leave were few and far between any concrete facts as to the ins and outs of his lifestyle. Between allegations of homosexuality, white supremacy and being stalked by a polish princess, Catherine RadziwiÅ‚Å‚ his personal being remains only loosely based tales.
Cecil John Rhodes was particularly noted for his involvement in the following:
- The Founder of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe),
- Founding the De Beers diamond company in 1888 which retains prominence up to today,
- In providing land dedicated solely for the nation, of which a portion was used for the Upper Campus of the University of Cape Town.
- Setting up the Rhodes scholarship at Rhodes University,
- Leading figure in the politics of South Africa, using his political stand to relieve the second boer war sieges of places like Kimberley, Mafeking and Ladysmith.
The Rhodes Memorialâ€™s architect was Sir Herbert Baker, he modelled the memorial after the Greek Temple of Segesta, however it resembles the Temple of Pergamon far more. There are 49 steps to represent every year of Rhodesâ€™s life, with eight bronze lions by John Macallan Swan, leading from a semi-circular terrace toward a pillar monument designed in a u-shape. At the bottom of this massive staircase is a bronze statue of a horseman entitled Physical Energy and was created by George Frederic Watts. John Macallan Swan also created the bust of Rhodes up top the memorial, where in honour of Rhodes the last stanza of Rudyard Kiplingâ€™s poem burial is inscribed:
â€œThe immense and brooding spirit still
Shall quicken and control.
Living he was the land, and dead,
His soul shall be her soul!â€
The Rhodes Memorial is part of the Table Mountain National Park, it is also frequented by many a UCT student. Those hiking up Devils Peak find the Rhodes Memorial to be a prime starting point and it is also a wondrous picnic spot with the divine views it accommodates.