Verwoerd's former town Brandfort in Free State to be renamed after Winnie Mandela

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Winnie Madikizela Mandela at her 80th birthday celebrations.
Winnie Madikizela Mandela at her 80th birthday celebrations.
Elmond Jiyane, GCIS
  • Free State’s Brandfort town to be named after Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. 
  • The struggle icon spent eight years banished to the town situated outside Bloemfontein.
  • The government gazetted the name change on Friday.

The sleepy Free State town of Brandfort will be renamed after struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

The town - situated 60km from the province capital Bloemfontein - is where the late apartheid activist was banished between 1977 and 1985.

The town was also home to former prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd.

LISTEN | How to pronounce Eastern Cape's new names

Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said he had approved the renaming of the town to Winnie Mandela.

The name change was gazetted on Friday.

“This name change is just one of the ways that the department is honouring Madikizela-Mandela’s legacy. As we approach Women’s Day, It is pivotal that our geographical names reflect the history of such icons,” Mthethwa said.

READ | Brandfort, Hoffman Square in Free State may be renamed to honour struggle icons - report

In May 1977, Madikizela-Mandela was banished by the apartheid government to stay at house 802 in Majemasweu township in Brandfort.

She started a creche with non-governmental organisation Operation Hunger.

Banishment

Madikizela-Mandela also started a clinic near her residence with the late Dr Abu Baker Asvat.

During her banishment to Brandfort, Madikizela-Mandela endured the wrath of the then government.

In December 2019, the department announced that it had finished constructing the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Brandfort House Museum.

Mthethwa earlier said the place would serve as a multipurpose centre with Wi-Fi facilities and parking space for tourists.

The house, which remained abandoned for a while, gained media attention after the government failed to make it a remembrance place before the icon died.

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