Choice of name a masterstroke

2016-05-04 06:00
George Mutloane

George Mutloane

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THE first time I saw a public invitation to the renaming of the NIHE building and the official opening of the newly-constructed buildings of the Sol Plaatje University, I could not help thinking about those in whose honour the buildings would be renamed.

As a citizen of the Diamond City, I played around with several names from the city who are either politicians, academics or business people.

I thought about Prof. Z.K. Matthews, who was an outstanding academic at Fort Hare and who could lay claim to giving the ANC the international character it had been flying for the past 104 years.

At some point after the 1994 elections, Naledi Pandor and her father, Joe Matthews, Z.K.’s son, served as minister and deputy in President Nelson Mandela’s government.

I thought of the great Prof. Lesole Gadinabokao and, of course, the Prof. himself, Robert Sobukwe, who many in the ANC would not have a problem naming a building after.

Names such as Aggrey Klaaste, Khoisan X (or Benny Alexander to his parents in Florianville), Judge Yvonne Mokgoro, founding premier of the Northern Cape, Manne Dipico, and the late MEC for Education, Griselda Cjiekela-Le­tsholo, also come to mind.

For non-Kimberlites I thought of Ngaka Modiri Molema for his role in the ANC and his role in Sol Plaatje’s life, Onkgopotse Abram Tiro for his role in student politics, Dr James Moroka, Ruth First, Bram Fisher and President Jacob Zuma for defying the commission, headed by Prof. Jansen, that found that the Northern Cape and Mpuma­langa should not have universities.

So many names, I think more than 50, crossed my mind. However, on the appointed day, the university hit a masterstroke when the vice-chancellor read the name of the gallant Motswana warrior Kgosi Luka Jantjie as worthy to have the building named after him.

The joy and excitement of every one was written on their faces as women ululated and everyone applauded.

It was a befitting surprise.

The newly-constructed building is simply known as Central Campus.

I thought every block, including student residences, would have names, as opposed to the present descriptions of Block A, B and C.

Come on, Professor and your names committee, there are many worthy names out there.

The other troubling matter is what made the SPU forget that Kgosi Luka Jantjie is a kgosi and has to be called that all the time.

Kgosi Luka Jantjie building it should be.


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