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Cecil Rhodes, one of the wealthiest men in the world, finally died on March 26, 1902 in a modest, beachside cottage situated at Muizenberg on the False Bay coast, near Cape Town. During the final weeks of his life, as his physical condition worsened, Rhodes was advised by his doctors to move away from the summer heat of his Groote Schuur home to his beach cottage where he could benefit from the somewhat cooler coastal conditions.

While there, and realising he was dying, Rhodes insisted on returning 'home' to England, and a boat passage was booked in the middle of March on the SS Saxon. However his condition deteriorated and the doctors refused to let him be moved. The ship, its name echoing the Anglo-Saxon race to which he so proudly belonged, sailed 'home' on the day

he finally died - without him.

'Up to that moment I had succeeded in suppressing my tears, but as I stood there in the lonely, simple room, and realised for the first time that I should never see his genial smile or his beautiful clear blue eyes light up, or hear his kind and friendly voice again, I could no longer restrain myself, and felt
the warm drops trickle down my cheeks.'

Philip Jourdan (Rhodes' personal secretary) who was one of those present when Rhodes' died in the late afternoon at his small, seaside cottage near Cape Town.


'Do you not know that a warrior, a great man,
has fallen this day in Israel?'
  Cecil Rhodes, Sir Herbert Baker, Matabele, herbert baker, herbet baker, architects, architecture, cecil rhodes, Cecil John Rhodes, Groote Schuur, groote schuur Cecil Rhodes, Sir Herbert Baker, Matabele, herbert baker, herbet baker, architects, architecture, cecil rhodes, Cecil John Rhodes, Groote Schuur, groote schuur

Cecil Rhodes, Sir Herbert Baker, Matabele, herbert baker, herbet baker, architects, architecture, cecil rhodes, Cecil John Rhodes, Groote Schuur, groote schuur

Cecil Rhodes, Sir Herbert Baker, Matabele, herbert baker, herbet baker, architects, architecture, cecil rhodes, Cecil John Rhodes, Groote Schuur, groote schuur

The opening words of the eulogy given by the Archbishop of Cape Town
at Rhodes' funeral. (The Biblical lament of King David at the slaying of
Abner, the commander of Saul's army.)


Rhodes' coffin was massive, consisting as it did of three separate coffins - an outer shell of Matabele teak which enclosed two inner coffins, each made of metal. Attached to the sides of the outer coffin were eight huge handles of beaten brass bearing Rhodes' monogram. These were cast, beaten, finished and delivered for fixing within four days of the order being given, a team of artisans having worked night and day to do the job.

After the funeral service, Rhodes' coffin was put on a special train at Cape Town station - its funeral carriage draped with black velvet and purple silk. Carrying all his closest friends, the train travelled northwards for five days across the entire length of South Africa, and then up to Bulawayo in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). At every significant station along the way, thousands of mourners lined the flower-laden platforms.

After lying in state at Bulawayo, followed by another funeral service there, the coffin was then transported by ox-wagon to Rhodes' final resting place in the Matopo Hills - a special road of more than 25km having been carved through the rocky terrain during the preceding days by a team of about a thousand Matabele. On April 10, Rhodes' coffin was finally embedded at the summit of 'World's View', a huge dome of granite which the local Karanga people refer to as Marindidzimu ('the haunt of the ancestral spirits').

A pyramidial hoist lowers Rhodes' coffin deep into the rock of Marindidzimu.

Some years before his death, Rhodes had chanced upon this rock while out riding with his companions. He immediately told them that this was where he wanted to be buried, with his grave facing northwards. 'The peacefulness of it,' Rhodes remarked while standing at the summit, 'the chaotic grandeur of it

all....it brings home to me how very small we all are.'





'He lies buried on the mountain, the lizards crawling over a massive stone
lacking any cross or religious symbol. A haunted, sinister pagan place.'

Lord Alport


Here lie the remains of Cecil John Rhodes
Here lie the remains of Cecil John Rhodes Here lie the remains of Cecil John Rhodes

'BAYETE!'

The royal salute given by an impi of Matabele warriors as Rhodes' coffin was finally lowered into its stone grave. It was the first and only time this tribal blessing was ever
given to a white man.


`When Rhodes died he left Tony (his coloured manservant) an annuity and a house for his life in the grounds of Groote Schuur. Some two years later, passing through Cape Town, I went to see Tony and asked him how he was getting on. Speaking in Dutch, he replied, `I am not happy, Sir. The `Oubaas' (Master) needs me. Every night he says to me, `Tony, you must go up the Mountain.' He wants me, and where can I find him?' I did my best to cheer him up and said he could get lots to do at Groote Schuur if he cared to go back and work for Dr Jameson. But no, he said, he couldn't. His heart was sore, sore. Three months
later he was dead. Tony had gone to join his `Oubaas' - up the Mountain.

J.G.Macdonald

Rhodes' Groote Schuur home Rhodes' Groote Schuur home
Rhodes' Groote Schuur home Rhodes' Groote Schuur home
Rhodes' Groote Schuur home Rhodes' Groote Schuur home
Rhodes' Groote Schuur home Rhodes' Groote Schuur home
'Groote Schuur' - Rhodes' home situated on the lower slopes of Devil's Peak, Cape Town. His instruction to his architect, Sir Herbert Baker, in designing the house was: 'I want it big and simple, barbaric if you like.'

'For with all his faults the man was great - almost immeasurably great - when
contrasted with the pygmies who pecked and twittered in his shade.'

W.T.Stead




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