Cecil Rhodes Gravesite in Matobo Natural Park
By Contested Histories Initiative •
In 1902 as requested in his last will and testament, British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes was buried atop a granite hill in Zimbabwe’s world-famous Matobo National Park. Almost 120 years later, the site of his grave has become increasingly contested in light of his intimate involvement with colonisation and exploitation. Some groups have found the space maintenance inappropriate, calling for the grave’s exhumation and removal. In contrast, others see it as merely a tourist attraction and a vital source of income for the local community. This case study reflects the often competing understandings and functions of contested space and complexities in managing a colonial past.