Home News Renaming part of NC’s heritage celebrations

Renaming part of NC’s heritage celebrations


“On February 27, 1978 Sobukwe died from lung complications in the Kimberley Hospital.”

Picture: Soraya Crowie

THIS weekend’s provincial heritage celebrations will see the renaming of the Kimberley Hospital to the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital.

The spokesperson for the provincial Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Conrad Fortune, said yesterday that the renaming of the hospital came after months of consultations with various stakeholders.

“The renaming of Kimberley Hospital to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital comes after months of consultations between the Sobukwe Family Trust, the PAC and other stakeholders. The eldest son of the late Robert Sobukwe, Dini Sobukwe, has described the initiative as an honour to the family,” said Fortune.

He added that the renaming was befitting as Sobukwe played a vital role in the fight against apartheid.

Fortune also pointed out that Sobukwe had spent his final hours at the Kimberley Hospital.

“Sobukwe was a founder of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in opposition to the South African apartheid system. On March 21, 1960 Sobukwe led a PAC nationwide protest against the hated Pass Law which required black people to carry a pass book at all times. In a similar protest on the same day in Sharpeville, police opened fire on a crowd of PAC supporters, killing 69 in the Sharpeville Massacre.

“Sobukwe was arrested and kept in solitary confinement on Robben Island. Upon his release from prison, Sobukwe was banished to Kimberley, where he remained under house arrest. He, however, completed his law degree with the help of a local lawyer in Galeshewe and then started his own practice in 1975 in Kimberley.

“On February 27, 1978 Sobukwe died from lung complications in the Kimberley Hospital.”

Fortune said the renaming was not only to honour the political fighter but also to rectify the wrongs of the past.

“We must realise that name changes are important for us as South Africans to reclaim our heritage and cultural identity, as well as honouring our heroes and heroines who fought for the liberation of this country which we are all enjoying today.

“As South Africans we must be reminded of the fact that geographical name changes are a form of symbolic compensation for human rights abuse. The Geographical Names Act of 1998 is not only a law of this country but an essential part of transformation. It is a legislative process intended to redress historical imbalances and thus contribute towards eradicating a history filled with oppression and forge, instead, a national identity to which all South Africans can ascribe.

“Change is inevitable and if we want to grow as both individuals and as a nation we must accept that we need to change.”

Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas will deliver the keynote address at the renaming ceremony on Monday.