Cecil Rhodes is one of the most prominent personalities of southern African history. He was born in England in 1853 and came to South Africa in 1870, at the age of seventeen. As the diamond rush broke out in the north of the Cape, he acquired the prospecting rights for some claims and, managed to make an impressive fortune in a very short time. In 1880 he established the De Beers Mining Company, 8 years later formed De Beers Consolidated Mines and later Consolidated Gold Fields of South Africa operating in the Witwatersrand.

He then used his financial power mainly for political purposes. In 1890 Rhodes became Premier of the Cape colony.

Rhodes was Prime Minister of the Cape from 1890 until he resigned on 5 January 1896.

His time in office marks the height of British expansion politics in the Cape. The colony was forcefully extended towards the north and the west. It was Rhodes´ life long aim to create a British colony, which extended from Cape Town to Cairo.

Cecil Rhodes died in 1902 in Muizenberg (Cape Town) but was transported to near Bulawayo to be buried in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) on a very impressive hill called World's View, where his tomb is a huge rock of granite. His memorial is situated near the University of Cape Town.




The Memorial sits below Devil's Peak on the Groote Schuur Estate, Rondebosch, where Rhodes placed a wooden seat from which he could look out to Table Bay in the north, False Bay in the south and the Hottentots Holland Mountains in the east.

The building of the memorial, designed by Herbert Baker, began in 1906 and was only officially dedicated to Rhodes on 5th July 1912.

The memorial has a temple like form and was designed with out a specific function, except to inspire heroic thought and patriotic emotion from those who visit the memorial. The memorial is a stage set in beautiful scenery and reflects the beliefs and aspirations of greatness of Cecil Rhodes. Eight bronze lions, the king of beasts, line the steps leading to the temple symbolising Rhodes. The steps have no regard for human needs but are designed on a monumental scale. The memorial temple was built in Cape granite quarried from Table Mountain.

FIGURE 1: Rhodes Memorial.                                                 (www.travelandtranscendence.com/ SouthafricaA/images/005.jpg)



Displayed on the terrace of the memorial is a sculpture ‘Physical Energy’ designed by George Frederick Watt for the memorial. JM Swan sculpted the eight lions and an uncompleted bust sculpture of Cecil Rhodes, above this sculpture within the temple is the inscription: "To the Spirit and Life Work of Cecil John Rhodes who loved and served South Africa" (www.rondebosch.co.za



Physical Energy                                                            The eight lions seated on the steps of the Memorial.

FIGURE 2: Physical Energy.                                                              FIGURE 3: Bronze Lions. (www.rondebosch.co.za/)                                                                   (www.rondebosch.co.za/)




FIGURE 4: Bust of Cecil John Rhodes                                (www.travelandtranscendence.com/ SouthafricaA/images/28.jpg)




KEATH, M. Herbert Baker: Architecture and Idealism 1892-1913 The South African Years. Gibraltar: Ashanti Publishers.   

Rhodes Memoria:l Cape Town                                                                          www.southafrica-travel.net/ westcape/cato_10.htm (6 Febuary 2003)


Rhodes Memorial                                                                                    www.rondebosch.co.za/  (6 Febuary 2003)



South Africa Gallery A                                                            www.travelandtranscendence.com/SouthafricaA/images/

    (6 Febuary 2003)