J C McConnachie (1972)

The word “transform” means to change completely. Literally transforming a university would therefore mean that at the end of the process the university is no longer a university but is something else or functions completely differently. That is surely not the purpose of transformation as proposed for Rhodes. The purpose must surely be to reconfigure and reposition the university ie to change certain aspects of the university and how it functions but not to change its fundamental educational aim. The word “reform” would therefore seem to be more accurate but would seem from the Transformation Summit Project Plan not to be acceptable:

A Paper by Thembinkosi Lehloesa (1993)

As an institution Rhodes University was established in 1904 as an exclusively white university. It served white interests and British capitalism. The importance to differentiate between the two arises from the fact that white racism had its own consequences on black and African people. It destroyed their self-esteem, their sense of achievement, dignity and humanity for over 350 years. British capitalism established white businesses that were owned and managed from London. In that sense it did not even recognise the existence of Afrikaners.


“What is in a name? Would not a rose by any other name still smell as sweet?'' William Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet more than four centuries ago. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," he answered. Many people agree that with Shakespeare’s description that whether one calls it by its scientific name, Rosacea, its common name, Rose, or by any other name, its smell remains sweet and enchanting and never changes.

More views sought on Rhodes name change By SINO MAJANGAZA.

THE proposed name change for Rhodes University was again put under the microscope during the alumni transformation consultation that was held at Beacon Bay Country Club in East London on Friday night. Vicechancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela addressed about 30 former students, promising them that transformation was high on the university's agenda. The alumni transformation consultation comes after the Rhodes University council approved a plan to engage the greater Grahamstown

Kate Rogers

Dear Dr Mabizela I am so sorry not to be able to join you for the transformation consultations and to hear you speak about this topic, as well as to reconnect. I am passionate about transformation and also about Rhodes. But I am white. So in a climate of political uncertainty, I am not sure if my opinion is welcome… but to silence one perspective and remove their voice repeats the mistakes like when not all people could use their voice to vote.

Michael Smout, Principal and Pro-Vice-Chancellor 1991-2001

In 1995 name change proposals came forward for both Rhodes and Fort Hare. At RU there were wide ranging consultations with ‘stakeholders’ and in the end the Rhodes Council voted not to change the University’s name. Most of the arguments put forward then would probably still hold today. I presume the current RU investigation has access to the relevant documents. In the case of Fort Hare, the then President and Vice-President came out very strongly against a name change and no more was heard. The point was made that the words ‘Fort Hare’ conjure up an image of a proud University not that of a Fort named after a British army Colonel.

Dr Chris Ndzengu

I, as a first year student arrived at Rhodes in 1987 as someone who had been negatively affected at an early age by forced removal from ancestral land and as a student from a village, with no computer skills. The University then was not ready and prepared for me and others like myself.

Lorrie Chan-Henry

Rhodes University is very special to me. As a child we would visit the grounds often. I have strong roots in Grahamstown. I was born there as did my late father in 1910. He ran his business there, being an active member of the community. My late sister Josephine Henry worked as secretary for Prof. J.L.B. Smith at Rhodes' Ichthyology Department back in the 50s. I attended Rhodes from 1960 to 1963 and graduated in April 1964 with a Bachelor of Social Science.

Patricia Broderick

"I feel that Rhodes Alumni need to consider the present situation concerning the arguments around a possible name change for Rhodes University. My own opinion is that history cannot be eradicated and that in order to move forward, this history needs to be recognised and understood. The debate around this issue has revealed problems that should now be addressed and that could be the most positive response for evolving a new culture. We cannot deny the huge contribution made by the Rhodes Trust,

Alan Polack

In the letter of 2 June 2015, I used the following words and they are quoted in Gordon’s ’statement' which you have included in your 'Transformation News and Views, Alumni Relations' section of the relevant web page.'In the world of learning, a university builds a reputation and prestige with time as a consequence of the performances and works of its staff, researchers and graduates.’

Gordon Cragg

Transformation at Rhodes University and the Issue of the Name of Our Great Institution As an Old Rhodian, I hereby wish to express my strongest opposition to the implementation of any name change for the highly respected institution known as Rhodes University. The founding of the university was dependent on the munificence of Cecil John Rhodes through support provided by the Rhodes Trust, and over the past 100 plus years, and particularly in the past few decades, the University has established a proud record of academic excellence which is available to all races and cultures, and which is indelibly associated worldwide with the name, Rhodes University

Quentin Hogge

An Alumnus writes Most alumni from the 1970’s are reluctant to see the name of Rhodes University, change. As graduates and concerned, thinking products of our fine university, we are sensitive to the issues of transformation and decolonisation. We are aware of the importance of the move away from Western influences in education to be replaced by a more embracing Afro-centric curriculum.