From then on Cecil Rhodes used his financial power mainly for political influence. In 1890, he became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony and his time in office marks the height of British influence in politics in the Cape. The colony was forcefully extended towards the north and the west. It was Rhodes' aim in life to bring the two Boer Republics, the Orange Free State and the South African Republic in Transvaal (proclaimed between 1854 and 1856) under British control. For this reason he attempted a putsch, which failed and forced him to resign before the end of his term.
Sir Cecil Rhodes died in 1902. The memorial above the University of Cape Town (UCT) offers a splendid view of the city. It was built with granite extracted from Table Mountain and reflects the obsession of this power-hungry politician. Rhodes was not buried here, but in the Matopos Hills in Zimbabwe. The memorial in Cape town is surrounded by beautiful pine forests. There are some good hiking trails and shady picnic spots as well as a coffeeshop. The access turns off the M3 behind the university (sign-posted). Entrance is free.
Sir Cecil John Rhodes is one of the most dazzling personalities of South African history. He was born in 1853 in England and came to South Africa at the age of 17. When the diamond rush started in the north of the Cape country, he bought some diamond-rich claims and amassed a fortune in a very short amount time.
Photo left: Rhodes Memorial in Cape Town. Top: Sir Cecil Rhodes (1853 - 1902). Right: The lions of the Rhodes Memorial.