Those on South Africa holidays will be able to enjoy a little piece of history as Cape Town officials prepare to change the name of 24 of the city’s streets.
The proposals, which will also affect two civic centres and a footbridge, will see the streets renamed after some of South Africa’s most celebrated figures from the struggle against apartheid.
Deliberations over the plans went on late into Wednesday (29th) night, following consultation with over 19,000 Cape Town residents.
Chairman of the naming committee Brett Herron outlined the reasons behind the changes, stating that the new names were guided by “redress”.
“Naming is a powerful tool,” explained Mr Herron, “city’s place markers reflect history… streets and public places must reflect the diversity of all our people.”
A clear example of the need to acknowledge the terrible mistakes of the past in order to build a better future can be seen in the case of Wittebome Civic Centre (to be renamed Wynberg).
During apartheid Wittebome and Wynberg Civic Centres divided people along racial lines, explained DA councillor Monty Oliver. “It was merely a way of saying the one is for whites and the other for people of colour.”
By renaming the centre these divisions are hopefully consigned to the past – now there is only one name and one centre for all citizens.
The renaming has been met with widespread support in Cape Town, which has built a reputation over the last decade as an inclusive, multicultural city.
This has been further highlighted by the way in which the changes have been brought into effect, with public participation at the heart of the process.