Commitments were made by speaker after speaker following the renaming of the Kimberley Hospital Complex to the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital on Monday (24/09), which was Heritage Day.
The renaming formed part of the 2018 provincial Heritage Day commemoration under the theme “The Year of Nelson Mandela: Advancing Transformation of South Africa’s Heritage Landscape.”
This follows concerns as to whether the hospital will follow the attributes and principles that human rights lawyer Sobukwe carried.
Sobukwe was a founder of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in opposition to the South African apartheid system.
He was born in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape on 5 December 1924 and died in the Kimberley Hospital Complex due to lung complications in 1978.
Sobukwe joined the ANC Youth League in 1948 and became prominent in 1952 for backing the Defiance Campaign.
He identified with the Africanists within the African National Congress (ANC) and in 1957 left the ANC to become editor of The Africanist newspaper in Johannesburg.
On 21 March 1960, he led a PAC nationwide protest against the hated Pass Law which required black people to carry a pass book at all times.
In a similar protest on the same day in Sharpeville, police opened fire on a crowd of PAC supporters, killing 69 in the Sharpeville Massacre.
Sobukwe was arrested and kept in solitary confinement on Robben Island where he was considered more radical and difficult to deal with.
Upon his release from prison, Sobukwe was banished to Kimberley where he remained under house arrest.
He however completed his Law degree with the help of a local lawyer in Galeshewe, and then started his own practice in 1975 in Kimberley.
Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas emphasised the importance of name changes for South Africans in an effort of reclaiming their heritage and cultural identity, as well as honouring the heroes and heroines who fought the liberation of the country enjoyed today.
“It is due to his immense contribution to the people of Kimberley – with his political will and knowledge – that gives us the honour and privilege in transforming this heritage landscape,” said Lucas when she addressed the guests at the launch of the new name.