Friday, 18 May 2012

STREET NAMES: The new names explained

When I heard of the name change debacle, my apathy got the better of me and I just chose to ignore the debates and not think about it too much.  All name changes, I thought, would happen in and around town and it is not like I know a single street name there, so it wouldn't change much of the chaotic experience that my suburban background and I cherish for that part of the city.  And then thin red lines started appearing across all the names of the streets I travel on daily.  Charles street? Queen Wilhelmina street?  I will never be able to give directions ever again, I'm afraid.

But one needs to stay positive, and I do think many of the names are at least more fun. And it is the perfect opportunity for a "history in action" lesson.  Here are the who's who of the new streets, just so you know who you are driving on.  It might make it easier to remember some of the names too.

Schoeman -  Francis Baard
She was the organiser of the African National Congress (ANC) Women’s League and a Trade Unionist.  She also played an active roll with the drafting of the Freedom Charter in 1955 and played a leading role in the Women’s march to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956, to protest against the pass laws.

Skinner  - Nana Sita
She was the secretary of the Pretoria branch of the Transvaal Indian Congress, involved the Indian Passive Resistance Movement. 

Church -  from Nelson Mandela to the east – Stanza Bopape
He was an ANC political activist and civic leader tortured and killed in police custody.  

D F Malan -  E’skia Mphahlele
Mphahlele was a fiction writer and later he became a journalist for the iconic Drum magazine. During the 1950s Mphahlele became increasingly politicised, and joined the African National Congress in 1955. In 1957 he went to Nigeria to teach, only to come back after 20 years of exile to join the University of the Witwatersrand

Genl Louis Botha -  January Masilela
January Masilela is the former Secretary of Defence for the South African Department of Defence. He also served as the Deputy Secretary-General of the African national Congress. He died in a tragic car accident in 2008.

Queen Wilhelmina Ave -  Florence Ribeiro
She helped young people in exile through donations of money and contacts and assisted a number of children in obtaining a good education. She was killed in a joint Security Branch and SADF Special Forces operation in December 1986

Mears/Beatrix/ Voortrekker -  Steve Biko

He was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s.  He found the Black Consciousness Movement which would empower and mobilise much of the urban black population. Since his death in police custody, he has been called a martyr of the anti-apartheid movement.

Hendrick Verwoerd -  Johan Heyns
Johan Heyns was an influential Afrikaner Calvinist theologian and moderator of the general synod of the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK). He was assassinated at his home in Waterkloof Ridge, Pretoria. Although his murder was never officially resolved it is widely believed that it was directly related to his criticism of Apartheid and his liberal theological views

Hans Strijdom -  Solomon Mahlangu
Solomon Mahlangu is a struggle hero, who became the first MK cadre to be hanged by the apartheid government. 

Esselen -  Robert Sobukwe

He was the founding member and first president of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in opposition to the apartheid regime. In 2004 Sobukwe was voted 42nd in the SABC3's Great South Africans.
Michael Brink -  Nico Smith
Nico Smith was a South African Afrikaner minister and prominent opponent of apartheid. He abandoned his upper-class lifestyle to live with the impoverished and segregated blacks of Mamelodi.

Duncan  - Jan Shoba

He was a member of Apla’s (Azanian People's Liberation Army) High Command.

Zambezi -  Sefako Makgatho

He was a politician, journalist, teacher and the second president of the ANC.  Makgatho Mandela, the second son of Nelson Mandela, was named after Sefako Makgatho.

And in case you were wondering what happened to the rest of the 27 new street names, here they are:
Proes - Johannes Ramokhoase

Van der Walt -  Lilian Ngoyi

Andries  - Thabo Sehume

Prinsloo  - Sisulu

Leah Mangope  - Peter Magano

Lucas Mangope -  Molefe Makinta

Jacob Mare - Jeff Masemola

Walker Charles -  Justice Mohammed

Mitchell -  Charlotte Maxeke

Vermeulen -  Madiba

Schubart -  Sophie De Bruyn

Potgieter -  Kgosi Mampuru

Happy learning! 



  1. Thank you Frederika, I honestly did not know some of the names there like Nana Sita, etc.

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  3. I didn't even know who the previous people where, so changing it to these and trying to justify it it is utter bullshit. Injustice is the beggars that walk those streets, unfairness is the millions still in poverty. That they had the audacity to spend so much money on ego sickens me. Did they ask the residents of those streets if they wanted the names changed? What about companies that now have to change signs, maps, brochures. What about google and garmin. What a bloody bunch of idiots. People don't care who's on the boards, they care about what the boards do. How the hell do I now explain to a friend coming for a visit he has to turn into Justice Mohammed? He's going to look at me funny. However, everyone knows Charles. I wonder what some of the people who's names they're using would say about this, they're turning in their graves...

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  4. If only a number and NSE or W could be added - some directional sense!
    Decide on two crossing main streets and add M for Main
    Streets North of Main will have suffixes 1N, 2N etc. East = 1E, 2E etc.

  5. Duncan Street is now Jan Shoba, and you LOVE it? Who's paying you to write this craven nonsense? Spend some time finding out who this scoundrel was and you might cringe.

    1. Dear Sam, this is a mere explanation of the name changes that took place in Pretoria. We write for the love of our Capital and to keep our readers informed.