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Randburg streets get freedom names Print E-mail

Two major roads in Randburg, named after apartheid prime ministers, are to be renamed to reflect the country's democracy.

The renaming of streets is part of ongoing efforts to revitalise Randburg
The renaming of streets is part of ongoing efforts to revitalise Randburg

NEW names to replace two main roads in Randburg, in northern Johannesburg, have been announced following a rigorous public participation process.

Hendrik Verwoerd Drive is to be renamed after human rights lawyer Braam Fischer, and Hans Strijdom Drive will become Malibongwe Drive.

The new names are part of the branding and marketing for the Randburg Revitalisation Project and are meant to paint a positive image of the suburb with which "its community, both residential and business, can identify", according to a report from the City's development planning and urban management department.

At present the major arterials and other connecting streets in the area are named after old National Party ministers and the impression is that the area is strongly rooted in the apartheid era.

Nkululeko Drive emerged as the most popular replacement for Hans Strijdom Drive
Nkululeko Drive emerged as the most popular replacement for Hans Strijdom Drive

Randburg became a National Party stronghold in the 1950s and the two streets were named after former prime ministers who played leading roles in implementing apartheid.

Nkululeko Drive was mooted as a popular replacement after a rigid public participation process called by the Johannesburg Development Agency involving newspaper advertisements, radio announcements, website surveys and ward committee meetings in July 2006.

The proposed names of Malibongwe Drive (for Hendrik Verwoerd Drive) and Nkululeko Drive (for Hans Strijdom Drive) were approved by the full council on 26 October 2006. However, there was a second phase of public engagement and public notices were placed in key local places like the library, clinic, civic centre and schools. Notices were also placed in The Star, Citizen and Beeld newspapers on 16 November 2006.

At the close of the second public participation process on 13 December 2006, 256 responses had been received. Six letters were received in support of the two proposed street names. Alternative suggestions were put forward, namely Lanseria Drive for Hans Strijdom Drive, and Randburg Drive, Main Road and Braam Fischer Avenue for Hendrik Verwoerd Drive.

Out of the 256 responses, 163 submissions were made for Braam Fischer Drive.

Born in 1908 into a powerful Afrikaner family, Fischer was considered a traitor by the apartheid regime. He rejected apartheid views on race relations and joined the South African Communist Party (SACP).

During the Rivonia Treason Trial Fischer led Nelson Mandela's defence at great risk to himself. In September, he was arrested and charged with membership of the illegal SACP; he was released on bail to handle a case in London.

He skipped bail and went "underground". However, he was caught and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1966. He finally succumbed to cancer in May 1975.

Malibongwe, a shortened version of the phrase "malibongwe igama lamakhosikazi" or "praise the women" refers to the 1956 women's march against carrying passes.

According to the development planning and urban management department, the second phase of public engagement was merely a call for comment on the proposed names and not a call for new or alternative names. However, given the sensitivity of the issue, the department decided not to follow normal policy and took the new suggestions into account.

Notices in prominent places around the two roads will notify the public of the new names.



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Last Updated on 21 January 2013