Cape Town mulls renaming De Waal Drive after Philip Kgosana

2017-04-20 19:56
Struggle hero Philip Kgosana. (Alide Dasnois, GroundUp)

Struggle hero Philip Kgosana. (Alide Dasnois, GroundUp)

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town is considering changing the name of its famous De Waal Drive in honour of Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) stalwart Philip Kgosana, who died at the age of 80 on Thursday.

Extending the city's condolences to his friends and family, Mayor Patricia de Lille, herself a former PAC MP, announced this in a tribute to the activist.

Her spokesperson Zara Nicholson told News24 the proposal was submitted by former Cape Times editor Tony Heard a while back and it has been in the pipeline. It could go to the naming committee in May, to be followed by a chance for the public to comment on the suggestion.

Kgosana famously led the mobilisation of around 30 000 from Langa and Nyanga to Cape Town on 30 March 1960, following the Sharpeville massacre of March 21 of the same year.

"I was honoured to have known and stood alongside Kgosana during the darkest days of apartheid and drew from his determination as we fought together to realise freedom, justice, and equality for the people of our country," De Lille said in a statement.

"Fellow South Africans and I will forever remember him as a brave, principled man who stood tall in his resolve against oppression."

READ: Former PAC leader Philip Kgosana dies

Sharpeville massacre

The PAC, a party that broke away from the African National Congress in 1959, had organised countrywide anti-pass protests for March 21, in 1960.

The "pass" was a document that severely limited and controlled where black people were allowed to travel, live or work, on pain of arrest. To not be able to produce the pass on demand, also guaranteed arrest.

Black people were urged to leave their passes at home and to gather at police stations to put themselves up for arrest, in defiance of the pass laws.

However, police opened fire on protesters at Sharpeville in Gauteng, and 69 people were killed and at least 180 others were injured.

Kgosana and the around 30 000 protesters walked about 12km from Langa, via De Waal Drive, named after David Christiaan De Waal, a mayor in the late 1800s who was associated with Cecil John Rhodes.

They marched into the city, to show how horrified they were by the tragic turn of events but after the march Kgosana was arrested.

Within a week the government of the day had declared a state of emergency and banned the ANC and PAC, driving the movements underground and into militarisation.

City Press reported in 2016 that at the age of 79, Kgosana retraced the steps they took to make sure nobody forgot about the tragedy.

"On behalf of the City of Cape Town, I extend my deepest sympathy to Philip Kgosana's family, friends, and fellow Pan-Africanist Congress members," said De Lille.

Read more on:    anc  |  pac  |  philip kgosana  |  patricia de lille  |  cape town

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