Apartheid names must go

2015-06-04 06:00

In the settler colonies, large-scale land grabbing, systematic segregation and racial discrimination were institutionalised, which resulted in unprecedented dispossession and displacement of the black population.

In response, indigenous Africans waged protracted and tumultuous wars of liberation.

It is in this context that the renaming of colonial streets names in many African countries has aroused heated public debate.

Colonialism played a major role in “erasing” the identities of the conquered and colonised communities in many ways.

For example, the colonisers got rid of the indigenous or local names of many places and streets.

They replaced these with names that represented the colonisers’ identities, culture and ideologies.

Stellenbosch University has replaced a plaque commemorating former apartheid Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd with the South African flag in May 2015.

It has taken the university 21 years to make the move, but it is not enough. Afrikaans language policy must also be changed to break away from institutional discrimination.

English should be the language of instruction in all aspects of the University, so that students who don’t understand Afrikaans are not being marginalized.

The City of Cape Town continues to celebrate apartheid leaders in today’s South Africa and this is regressive and an insult to the many whose blood was lost in attaining our freedom.

This symbolism takes us back to the era of Nationalist Party. Murderers had their names emblazoned on every corner of significant geographic location.

Architects of Apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd, John Vorster, D F Malan, Paul Kruger, and many more racists, have their names all over the Western Cape landscape.

The Economic Freedom Fighters will be speeding up the name changing process that will reflect the indigenous population and their contribution towards economic and political freedom. The renaming of streets and places is for “further restitution of culture and land recognition for tribal people of ... Africa”

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