If you know anything about the colonization of Africa in the 1800s, you might be wondering about where “Cecil the Lion” got his name.

You see, there was an Englishman named Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) who left quite the mark on the African continent. You might know his name because of the foundation he left which sponsors the “Rhodes Scholars.” If you’re a dog lover, you might recognize the name Rhodesian Ridgeback. Interestingly, it’s a breed from Africa created by white men to hunt lions. 

Rhodesia, of course, was the previous name of the countries Zambia and Zimbabwe. Yes, Cecil Rhodes had a huge swath of the African continent named after him.

Over at the Telegraph, they confirm the suspicions of history buffs: 

“Cecil was first identified in 2008 or 2009, spotted with his brother. The pair were seen at a ‘pan’ or watering hole called Magisihole Pan, on the southern boundary of Hwange park.

Magisihole Pan translates as ‘White Man’s watering hole’ and so the siblings were named after famous white men: Cecil, after Cecil Rhodes, and Leander – named after Leander Starr Jameson, a pioneer in southern Africa and colleague of Rhodes.”

A week ago or so, Cecil Rhodes made the news when Reason Magazine wrote about social justice warriors at Oxford demanding that a statue of Rhodes be torn down

“Rhodes was a British imperialist, founder of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), architect of Apartheid, and all-around unpleasant guy. And according to Oxford students calling themselves the ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ movement, his statue at Oriel College—his alma mater—is not only offensive but an act of violence.”

Indeed, some of what Rhodes had to say would shock modern sensibilities. Like this one from his “Confession of Faith”: 

“… after reviewing the various methods I have felt that at the present day we are actually limiting our children and perhaps bringing into the world half the human beings we might owing to the lack of country for them to inhabit that if we had retained America there would at this moment be millions more of English living. I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. Just fancy those parts that are at present inhabited by the most despicable specimens of human beings what an alteration there would be if they were brought under Anglo-Saxon influence, look again at the extra employment a new country added to our dominions gives. I contend that every acre added to our territory means in the future birth to some more of the English race who otherwise would not be brought into existence.”

Or this one from the same document: 

“Africa is still lying ready for us it is our duty to take it. It is our duty to seize every opportunity of acquiring more territory and we should keep this one idea steadily before our eyes that more territory simply means more of the Anglo-Saxon race more of the best the most human, most honourable race the world possesses.”

Yes, the ironies of the situation are delicious. A rich white man went on safari in Africa and killed a favorite lion named after a very rich, racist, and imperialist white man who conquered a huge swath of Africa for the English people. And the people who wanted to tear down his statue will likely help his name live on for even longer by making it international news. 

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