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South Africa, Greece, Rome: a digital museum

Public discourse 4 items

References to classical antiquity have long been a means to express opinions about contemporary issues in South Africa. This section includes cartoons lampooning political leaders. Famously Cecil John Rhodes appeared as the ancient Colossus of Rhodes, in his desire to link the northern and southern extremes of the African continent, via rail network under British power known as “Cape-to-Cairo”. Beyond satire, classical antiquity has been used in political speeches such as President P. W. Botha’s eagerly awaited “Rubicon” speech in 1985, invoking Julius Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon at a point when, in fact, he was intensifying authoritarian rule.