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What contemporaries of Cecil Rhodes had to say about him.

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'When calling to mind Cecil Rhodes' unfinished work, of the deserts waiting to be crossed, the streams waiting to be bridged, before North and South Africa can be united, I have sometimes thought that if there be anything in the Eastern dream of reincarnation he shall surely reappear - when all his dreams are realised and his schemes completed - as the `over-lord' of a new
Africa, bearing in its ripened civilisation the
impress of his genius.'

Sir Thomas Fuller

'We seemed to live in the atmosphere
of that wide horizon which surrounded

him like a halo.'

Sir Lewis Michell

'How long does Rhodes expect to be remembered? According to Jameson, four thousand years. 'I give myself four thousand years.' It was not a boast,' says Jameson, 'he would not have said it at all if I hadn't asked him, and he seemed to be stating a fact of history.
It did not seem to have any personal meaning.'

Sarah Gertrude Millin


'It was for him we had undertaken this long dangerous trek, it was his name which magically held the troopers together, kept them from mutinying and deserting. It was odd the feeling the troopers had for Cecil Rhodes. Many of them had never seen him and knew him only by reputation, yet they seemed to understand him as a man of vision. Heroic visions - that was the answer. In the name of his visions, in Rhodes' dream of a great empire subdued, explored, and civilized, connected by bands of steel, we troopers found our goal. In a strange, abstract way we admired and loved that silent man....In return, it
might be noted, Cecil John Rhodes loved his troopers.'

Sam Kemp


'Rhodes was not much of a Christian. He was, whether he knew it or not, a
Nietzschean, an ancient Teuton'

Sarah Gertrude Millin


'.....Rhodes has an extraordinary ascendancy over men: he tied me up as he ties up
everybody. It is his way. You can't resist him: you must be with him.'

Barney Barnato


'Africa has been called cruel, perhaps rightly. She sets a high standard and has no use for weaklings. Those men who have made names for themselves in Africa....were all immensely above the average in intellect, in breadth of view and character. Towering above all others....comes Rhodes, the greatest Empire builder we have known; one worthy to be
ranked with Alexander and Caesar.'

J.G.Macdonald

'He could conquer hearts as effectually as any beauty that sets
herself to subjugate mankind.'

Basil Williams


'......you might hate him, you might loathe all he did, you might even think meanly of his actual achievements, but you could not ignore him any more than you could ignore a flash
of lightning that suddenly blazes across a murky night.'

Basil Williams


'.....there he stands, to this day, upon his dizzy summit under the dome of the sky...the marvel of the time, the mystery of the age, an archangel with wings to half the world, Satan with a tail to the other half...one fact is sure: he keeps his prominence and a vast
following, no matter what he does...What is the secret of his formidable supremacy?'

Mark Twain

'When he stood upon the Cape Peninsula, his shadow fell on the Zambezi.'

Mark Twain


'From Cape Town to the Zambezi, it is all Rhodes. When I asked who built that, who made

this industry, who created that, who is responsible for this, I get one reply - Rhodes.'

Lord Bryce


'The one sentimental thing in Rhodes' bedroom is a photograph of the wife of Mzilikazi who, in 1896, helped him to make contact with the Matabele. She hangs on the wall with her little senile eyes, like liquid slips in her old wrinked face, and her breasts like empty
sacks, and her skeleton hands - the only woman Rhodes cared to remember.'

Sarah Gertrude Millin

Footnote: This woman's name was Nyamabezana and she acted as a personal intermediary between Rhodes and the Matabele during the peace negotiations in the Matopo Hills at the end of the 1896 Rebellion. Nyamabezana was the only surviving wife of Mzilikazi, the Father of the Matabele nation. Once the queen of a Swazi tribe, she had led her people across the Limpopo to Matabeleland to escape being slaughtered by Shaka's Zulu impis during the bloody Mfecane period. Mzilikazi duly married Nyamabezana and adopted her tribe into his nation.


'Mr Rhodes was one of those rare minds whose aspirations are as wide as the world. Such aspirations are usually to be discovered among the founders of religions...'

W.T.Stead


General Jan Smuts - South Africa's most famous and accomplished statesman during the first half of the 20th century - was an ardent admirer and follower of Rhodes. He, along with the Afrikaners of the Cape Colony, shared Rhodes' vision of a political fusion of the country's Afrikaner and English races, and the creation of a united South Africa.

However, after the Jameson Raid - an abortive attempt instigated by Rhodes in 1895 to overthrow the government of Paul Kruger in the Transvaal - Smuts altered his pro-British stance and left his home in the Cape Colony to join Kruger's Transvaal Republic. After the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer war in 1899, Smuts commanded Boer forces against the British army and was a pivotal figure in the peace negotiations of 1902. After the Jameson Raid, and prior to the outbreak of the war, Smuts wrote of Rhodes:


'The Dutch (Afrikaners) set aside all considerations of blood and nationality and loved and trusted him and served him because they believed that he was the man to carry out that great Idea of an internally sovereign and united South Africa in which the white race would be supreme - which has been the cry of our forefathers even as it is our cry today. Here at last our Moses had appeared - and it made no difference that he was an Egyptian in blood .... it was hero worship pure and simple. He had that amplitude of mind which throws a glamour round itself and draws men and undermines their independence in spite of themselves.'


General Jan Smuts

One of Smuts' biographers - Sarah Gertrude Millin (who also wrote a biography on Rhodes) - says that for years after the Anglo-Boer war, 'Rhodes' thoughts remained fibres of his mind .... he could think of nothing else, write of nothing else, except Rhodes. But he could not think or write him out of his life. Rhodes was in him. He remained in him .... For after all, he and Rhodes were kin. That desire towards an unnameable Bigness had sent them both in their boyhood towards dreams of a religious life - that same desire towards Bigness was, despite all their other
differences, an essential community.'

Biographical details of General Jan Smuts
 





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