President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses supporters of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) at an election victory rally in Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 12, 2019. REUTERS-Mike Hutchings

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has supported the removal of statues that glorify the country’s apartheid past.

He said, “any symbol, monument or activity that glorifies racism, that represents our ugly past, has no place in democratic South Africa”.

“Monuments glorifying our divisive past should be re-positioned and relocated,” he said in a virtual address on Thursday as the country marked Heritage Day – an annual public holiday to celebrate the country’s diverse cultures.


Mr Ramaphosa said the removal of the statues shouldn’t be taken as an erasing of history, but as a way of “being sensitive to the lived experiences of all this country’s people”.

“We make no apologies for this because our objective is to build a united nation,” he added.

The campaign to remove statues of historical apartheid figures has been growing in the country, gaining support mainly from blacks.

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