The University of the Free State has confirmed that the MT Styen statue will be relocated to the War Museum in Bloemfontein.
The university’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Francis Petersen, told OFM News the council, as well as the Steyn family, have agreed to move the statue off-campus. He added that the university has submitted a proposal for the relocating process and are still waiting on an outcome.
This after the statue has in the past few years drawn much controversy with students vandalising it during the height of protests, calling for its removal. The university’s Student Representative Council (SRC) and other organisations have for years alleged that the statue does not represent the values of the university and demanded that it be removed.
Many students have also stated that the statue is a pre-apartheid artifact, which is a painful reminder of the apartheid sins and has no place in a post-democratic South Africa. Petersen explains that the decision to relocate the statue should not be considered as an attack on a specific race, culture or ideology.
Petersen emphasised that this does not mean all of the memorabilia, art symbols and statues that belong to one or other culture is now suddenly up to get removed or relocated.
The university has come under fire for this statue, together with the Charles Robberts (CR) Swart statue.
OFM News previously reported that the university’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Francis Petersen, alluded that all steps in the process pertaining to the matter, as to whether the statue will remain or be removed, were followed and that he was pleased that the process had an academic component, which sought to inform members of the public who Steyn was. He added that the university had given all stakeholders affected, an opportunity to voice their views.
Sazly Hartzenberg / OFM News