Oxford students fighting to have a statue of Cecil Rhodes removed from Oriel College have said the row over his legacy demonstrates Britain’s “imperial blind spot” and criticised the university’s record on black and ethnic minorities.

The Rhodes Must Fall group last week succeeded in persuading the college to move a plaque dedicated to him and consult on whether to take down his statue from the Grade II-listed building but the students behind it have said they hope to widen their campaign.

Brian Kwoba, a 33-year-old doctoratal student at Oxford and one of the campaign’s organisers, said he and fellow students were inspired by recent events in South Africa, when students at the University of Cape Town hurled buckets of excrement and paint over a statue of Rhodes that was eventually removed.

“Cecil Rhodes is responsible for all manner of stealing land, massacring tens of thousands of Black Africans, imposing a regime of unspeakable labour exploitation in the diamond mines and devising proto-apartheid policies,” Kwoba said.

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