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Sol looks to rename landmarks

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Verwoerd Park and Lucas Mangope are just two of the landmarks which will be reviewed by the Sol Plaatje City Council

President Mangope Street in Galeshewe is one of the landmarks set to be renamed. Picture: Danie van der Lith

A NUMBER of key landmarks in Kimberley, including Verwoerd Park and Lucas Mangope Street, will be reviewed by the Sol Plaatje City Council to allow the city to move toward a more inclusive society.

This was announced yesterday by the executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika, during a special council meeting, which also marked the local authority’s Heritage Month celebrations.

Matika stated that while the council was committed to preserving all current monuments in the city, it was important to acknowledge the negative historical role played by certain individuals during the years of oppression and segregation.

Matika highlighted three examples, including Hendrik Verwoerd, Lucas Mangope and Kaiser Matanzima.

“On reflection of the roles of the three former leaders under apartheid rule, it has become necessary for us to review public places of significance named after them as part of our celebration of Heritage Month.”

He added that mechanisms would be put in place so that the proper channels could be followed to rename these places.

“It is important that names given to our places of significance reflect the era in which we find ourselves, celebrate those who sacrificed their lives for this cause and commemorate their contribution in our struggle for liberation.”

Matika stated that the broader public of Kimberley would be approached for their input on the preferred names to be given to these places.

“We are mindful of the need to follow processes as prescribed by the Provincial Geographic Names Council and in terms of our own renaming policy.”

Elaborating on the issue, Matika added that the fact that Kimberley still had an area called Verwoerd Park meant that the council was embracing colonialism and oppression. “We must address this.”

He stated that a “place will be found for heritage symbols so that they can be retained for future generations” as part of the city’s history.

“We will also look at streets that have been named after former mayors who are questionable. We cannot have things named after people who have conducted themselves in an unacceptable manner. There is certain history that is being protected but is not acceptable in an inclusive democracy.”

Matika also called on residents to bring a halt to the erosion and destruction of traditions and beliefs. “If we, as Africans, are to claim the 21st century for ourselves, we have a duty to preserve our traditional heritage.”