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Johannesburg’s William Nicol Drive to be Renamed in Honour of Winnie Mandela

william nicol drive winnie mandela

The City of Johannesburg has announced its decision to rename William Nicol Drive as Winnie Mandela Drive. The official renaming ceremony, led by Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda, is scheduled for next week Tuesday. This significant event will also mark what would have been Winnie Mandela’s 87th birthday.

The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng expressed its support for the renaming. Lesego Makhubela, the ANC Gauteng spokesperson, shed light on the history of the renaming initiative. He mentioned that the discussions and processes to rename the road began as early as October 2018.

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Makhubela further elaborated on the reasons behind the ANC’s stance on the renaming. He emphasized the party’s discomfort with William Nicol’s name being prominently displayed in the city, especially after South Africa’s transition to democracy.

“If you know what William Nicol represented, he is one of the founders of Apartheid. He was the administrator with the apartheid government of the Transvaal from 1948 to 1952. He also held the position of the second chairman of the Broederbond, an organisation believed to have contributed to the economic challenges faced by many South Africans. Nicol’s views and actions were unapologetically racist. For his name to have remained on such a pivotal street in Johannesburg was a stark reminder of a painful past,”

Makhubela explained.

The renaming of the drive is seen by many as a step towards acknowledging the contributions of anti-apartheid activists like Winnie Mandela and moving away from the shadows of a divisive past.

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