Pretoria starts street renaming process

2012-05-23 09:12
Pretoria - The city of Pretoria has begun renaming streets to honour heroes of the anti-apartheid struggle, leaving some whites worried about losing their cultural identity in the South African capital.

Eighteen years after the African National Congress was elected to power, the city's streets still bear the names of leading figures from South Africa's white-dominated past, making it impossible to cross Pretoria without passing a mention of the fathers of apartheid.

For Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, the changes are about striking a balance between the memory of the country's former masters and their successors.

Although Pretoria's population has become more diverse in recent years, the capital retains a strong presence of Afrikaners.

Afrikaner past

Afrikaners were closely identified with apartheid, which ended when Nelson Mandela became the first black president in 1994.

"Afrikaners are not hated or the object of contempt but it is a fact that all the streets in the city are named after Afrikaners," Ramokgopa said.

"It will never be argued that Afrikaners did not play a role, but the city must represent everyone's past."

Delayed by a series of court cases, city workers have now begun changing signs for about 30 streets, mainly downtown. The old names are still there, but struck out by a red line, hanging alongside the new.

Emerging unscathed from the changes is Paul Kruger, the Afrikaner leader of the 19th-century Transvaal Republic, and the city's namesake Andries Pretorius, who defeated the Zulu army in a bloody 1838 battle.

But many whites who played a role in South Africa's history are being replaced by figures from the anti-apartheid struggle.

Voortrekkers

The Voortrekkers, Afrikaners who fled British expansion in the 19th century to colonise the country's north, have been replaced by Steve Biko, the black consciousness leader killed by white police in 1977.

"It doesn't matter what the street names are. It just makes it more difficult for people to find where we are," said Irene Rynders, who runs an antique shop along the road formerly known as Voortrekkers.

"But... what's wrong with the Voortrekkers? They came here through the mountains. Why change?" she said, fretting about the fallout for GPS devices and outdated maps.

"It costs a lot of money. They could use the money for people who haven't food, or whatever."

It's a lost cause to remind her that the Voortrekkers migrated north because the British had outlawed slavery.

Conrad Beyers, a local councillor with the Freedom Front Plus party, said "It is a big mistake to change historically sensitive names."

"There are enough neutral street names and new street names after which the ANC could name their heroes."

Don’t be divisive - Tutu

In some cases, the city has listened. The Zambezi River has lost its street, as has a church that was demolished long ago.

Church Street, the longest in the city, now bears four different names along different stretches.

The Afrikaner opposition fears more changes are still to come, on streets that still bear the names of apartheid leaders like John Vorster, a former head of state.

It's also opposed to renaming Pretoria as Tshwane, a switch mulled by the ANC since 2005.

Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize winner regarded as the voice of South Africa's conscience, said the government should be "magnanimous" in how it handles the renamings.

"Don't let it be a divisive exercise," he said. "Let's not rub people's noses in the dust, don't fill people with resentment."

"History is a strange thing. Today's leaders can be tomorrow's vanquished."
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Zuma took our money - EFF

2014-08-29 22:41
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The quest for understanding has reached a new intense emotional level. The more tempestuous your emotions are, the bigger the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.