AFP

LONDON

A statue at Oxford University of 19th century British imperialist Cecil Rhodes will not be taken down despite protests, the college at the centre of the dispute said Friday, to the fury of campaigners. ‘Following careful consideration, the college’s governing body has decided that the statue should remain in place,’ Oriel College said in a statement. But it denied newspaper reports that it feared losing donations worth some £100 million (130 million euros, $140 million) if it did take the statue down. Rhodes - a white supremacist like many builders of the British empire - gave his name to the territories of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe and Zambia, and founded the De Beers diamond company. The tycoon was also a donor to Oriel, one of Oxford’s 38 colleges, and endowed the Rhodes Scholarship, which has helped non-British students like former US president Bill Clinton and ex-Australian prime minister Tony Abbott study at the prestigious university. Inspired by the ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ campaign which prompted the removal of the University of Cape Town’s Rhodes statue last year, many current students objected to the presence of his statue in the heart of the historic English city. The ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ group on Friday called Oriel’s decision ‘outrageous, dishonest, and cynical. ‘This is not over. We will be redoubling our efforts and meeting over the weekend to discuss our next actions.’ Ntokozo Qwabe, a South African 2014 Rhodes Scholar who has campaigned to remove the statue, said on Facebook that the decision ‘reminds us that black lives are cheap at Oxford’.