Afterword: the shock of the new old

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Social Dynamics, Volume 45, Number 2, p.280–285 (2019)



Art, critique, decolonization, redistribution, university


At the University of Cape Town in 2016, student protesters burned works of art, torn down from their long-established positions on University walls. A large bonfire was made in front of the empty plinth that had held, until he was forcibly removed, the statue of Cecil John Rhodes. Amongst the paintings burned were portraits of patrons of the University, largely white, over the previous decades. Also burnt were works of black resistance art, “collateral damage” (Pauwels 2017, 329) in a furious attempt to undo what these earlier resistance works could not: the apartheid style post-apartheid order, the new old status quo.