Things to See in South Africa: Rhodes Memorial in Cape Town Travel Attractions 22 MAY 2016

Completed and dedicated in 1912, the imposing granite Rhodes Memorial sits on Devil’s Peak overlooking Cape Town, a memorial to the English-born South African politician Cecil John Rhodes.

rhodes memorial on devil's peak in cape town south africa 1

Designed by famed architect Sir Herbert Baker, the memorial is situated at Rhodes’s favourite spot on the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak – in fact, Rhodes’s own wooden bench is still situated below the memorial (which makes sense considering that he own most of the land making up the lower slopes of Table Mountain!). The site faces north-east, which one can easily imagine as marking the start of the Cape to Cairo road, Rhodes’s championed imperial dream of a British colonial Africa.

rhodes memorial on devil's peak in cape town south africa 3

Built mostly of Cape granite quarried on Table Mountain, the memorial consists of a massive staircase with 49 steps (one for each year of Rhodes’s life) leading from a semi-circular terrace up to a rectangular U-shaped monument formed of pillars.

At the bottom of the steps is a bronze statue of a horseman, Physical Energy by George Frederic Watts. Eight bronze lions by John Macallan Swan flank the steps leading up to the memorial, with a bust of Rhodes completing the installation.

rhodes memorial on devil's peak in cape town south africa 2

The inscription on the monument is “To the spirit and life work of Cecil John Rhodes who loved and served South Africa”. Also inscribed, below the bust of Rhodes, are the last four lines of the last stanza from the 1902 poem Burial by Rudyard Kipling in honour of Rhodes:

The immense and brooding spirit still
Shall quicken and control.
Living he was the land, and dead,
His soul shall be her soul!

rhodes memorial on devil's peak in cape town south africa 4

Today the memorial is part of the Table Mountain National Park. It sports a well-known tea room, making it a popular viewpoint and picnicking spot. It also marks the starting point for a number of walks and hikes on Devil’s Peak.

rhodes memorial on devil's peak in cape town south africa 5

Related Link: Rhodes Memorial

About Craig Lotter

Software developer, husband and dad to two little girls. Writer behind An Exploring South African. I don't have time for myself any more.