What are the debates that have taken place regarding the renaming processes of streets,buildings,memorials,places,etc?Which ideologies are these current debates informed by?How different are these ideologies from those of the past?
thirteen years after the dawn of South Africa’s democracy, [ Cape Town and many other smaller towns in our province hardly have a single street of significance that reflects the heroes and architects of our freedom. [ In fact, in this Province we still live with the daily humiliation of Native Yards (NY1, etc, in Gugulethu) and boulevards named after those who gave us slavery, colonialism,
religious bigotry and apartheid. This is not a black complaint. The Jewish community, too, cringe when Oswald Pirow, a Nazi sympathiser, is valourised. Surely enough time has passed to embark on a wide-ranging debate and campaign to find consensus on how to honour and memorialise the architects of freedom and democracy. When will we allow our children to engage with the legacies of patriots such as Autshumato, Sarah Baartman, Hilda Bernstein, Steve Biko, Molly Blackburn, Basil February, Imam Haron, Adam Kok, Alex La Guma, Chief Albert Luthuli, Sir Richard Luyt, Looksmart Ngudle, Dullah Omar, Gaby Shapiro, Christmas Tinto and many others? I deliberately set out, in my State of the Province Address two weeks ago, to evoke debate on our failure to reflect the changes in our country and honour our heroes across the political divide. In this vein, on behalf of the ANC, I proposed that Cape Town International Airport should be renamed after a son of our Western Cape, James la Guma, a leader of the garment workers in the ICU, a leader against the Stuttaford Segregation Bill in 1939, a World War II veteran, a leader of the Coloured People’s Congress and the Communist Party. We submitted this proposal in humility to kick-start a necessary public engagement that will hopefully take us closer to the common values that bind us together as the people of the Cape and South Africa. Towards deepening this debate, we lined streets across the Western Cape with posters of such freedom loving patriots to bring them to public attention as we commend them to the people for honour. ]