To rename, or not to rename.

Yesterday’s protest march by IFP, DA and ACDP supporters in Durban, really made me smile. The sight of black and white protesters marching side by side, to protest against the increasingly petty, political renaming of streets, buildings, towns etc. by the ANC was confirmation that the “Rainbow Nation” was actually starting to emerge.

Some of the posters displayed were also hugely entertaining.

Stop naming our streets after your girlfriends.

Who are these people?

The real risk of renaming streets etc, that a political party runs, especially at local level, is that things can change so quickly. The changing power base in Cape Town is a typical example. As they say, “a week is a long time in politics.” After the “floor-crossing” season coming up, what’s to stop a new political party starting the renaming process all over again? This renaming costs a fortune, and I am sure the millions of South Africans living without houses and basic services, would rather have these, than new names for everything.

If we really have to go with party political names, then we may just need street signs with slide in name plates to save on costs. Either that, or just prohibit names with any political connotations altogether.

If a name exists that is truly hurtful, for example, Verwoed or Vorster, then by all means change it, but most names are being changed, just for the sake of change. Other name changes are truly hurtful, like renaming Kingsway Road in Amanzimtoti to Andrew Zondo Road. Zondo, an Umkhonto weSizwe soldier, aged 19, was executed in September 1986 for planting a bomb in a rubbish bin at a shopping centre in Kingsway Road in December 1985, that killed five people, two women and three children, while many more were injured. That is just fueling conflict and digging up old tensions, and a slap in the face of the families of those killed and injured.


Even more bizarre is the propsed renaming of Mangosuthu Highway after the ANC leader Griffiths Mxenge, a lawyer killed in the 1980s. I can’t help but think, that the renaming of some streets in Durban from IFP heroes to ANC heroes has something to do with the Mbeki/Zuma fued. Why are the ANC purposefully instigating conflict with the IFP? Where is this coming from? National or Provincial level? Is it possibly a Xhosa/Zulu power struggle?

Am I just a conspiracy theorist? Watch Kwazulu-Natal. Watch Jacob (Kanga) Zumu. The next few months are going to be very interesting.


One thought on “To rename, or not to rename.”

  1. When they ANC first came to power they did us all a favour by renaming some streets and buildings and dams from the names of third-rate political hacks to more neutral names. The Marais Viljoen Building, which houses the people who deal with workemn’s compensation, was renamed to Compensation House.

    I can applaud that kind of renaming.

    But they’ve gone back to the bad habits of the Nats. Perhaps it is since they absorbed the rump of the Nats, with that van Schalkwyk fellow.

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