Rhodes Memorial on the lower slopes of Devil's Peak in Cape Town is built on land once owned by Cecil John Rhodes, a controversial giant in South African history.

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The De Beers mining company at one time controlled 90% of the market for rough diamonds.

Rhodes Memorial on the slopes of Devil's Peak in Cape Town honours one of South Africa's more controversial historical figures.

Businessman, mining magnate and arch imperialist, Cecil John Rhodes (1853 to 1902), once dreamed of extending Britain's influence all the way from the Cape to Cairo.

This impressive monument, which can be accessed off the M3, was designed by the famous architect and contemporary of Rhodes, Sir Herbert Baker, to resemble a Grecian temple.

With eight bronze lions flanking a giant stairway, and a statue of a horse and rider at the bottom looking out across the hinterland, it offers an imposing view over the Cape Flats.

It's a popular spot, particularly with students from the nearby University of Cape Town, which is a short walk away, and visitors can enjoy tea and scones or a light lunch at the tearoom located in a cottage (also a Herbert Baker original).

The area surrounding this site is full of stone pine tree and is the starting point for hiking paths on the slopes of Devil's Peak.

Rhodes' legacy includes the donation of large tracts of land around the memorial including the land the University of Cape Town now occupies along with the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

His name is also attached to a scholarship, now known as the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship, which enables African students with leadership potential to study at Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Rhodes was a larger-than-life character who once dominated political life in South Africa when it was still under British rule.

He made his fortune on the diamond diggings of Kimberley and founded the De Beers diamond company. Elected to the Cape parliament as a member for Barkly West in 1880, he became prime minister 10 years' later, using his influence to pass laws that benefitted mine owners and industrialists.

Rhodes also played a pivotal role in the disastrous Jameson Raid, which in part contributed to the outbreak of the South African War (also the Anglo Boer War) and forced his resignation as prime minister.

He died in Muizenberg in 1902 during the final stages of that conflict.

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