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March 18, 2015

South African students call out racism with #RhodesSoWhite

Criticism of race relations in South African higher education reaches Rhodes University, named after British colonialist.
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Students walk past a statue of British colonialist Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town near the city center of Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. (AP/SCHALK VAN ZUYDAM)

UpdateAnother South African university has joined in the calls to remove tributes to the country's colonial legacy from campuses. A statue of Britain's King George V was defaced at University of KwaZulu-Natal as students demand its removal.

Students at South Africa's Rhodes University are protesting the name of their school, which commemorates British colonialist Cecil John Rhodes. #RhodesSoWhite trended across the country as South Africans used the hashtag more than 3,700 times to discuss race relations at the school and debate whether the university should change its name.

The conversation began at the University of Cape Town, where protesters demanded a controversial statue of Rhodes be removed from campus. Demonstrators said the statue showed how little the university has transformed on racial justice.

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