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South Africa: William Nicol Drive to be renamed after Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

William Nicol Drive in Johannesburg, South Africa will be named after Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in honour of the revolutionary anti-Apartheid icon. There are loud calls from various groups to also rename Cape Town International Airport after Winnie for her contribution in the struggle.



At Winnie Madzikizela-Mandela’s funeral, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighter’s party Julius Malema, in his speech called the African National Congress (ANC) government under Cyril Ramaphosa to rename the Cape Town International Airport after Winnie Madzikizela-Mandela. However, just a month later, the ANC proposed to rename the airport after Nelson Mandela. The South African Communist Party (SACP) has previously indicated it wants Cape Town International Airport to be renamed after its late struggle icon Chris Hani.

While many buildings and halls have been named after Nelson Mandela, few have been named after other anti-apartheid heroes like Steve Biko, and Robert Sobukwe, even fewer streets and landmarks have been named after women who participated in the anti-apartheid struggle. It brings into focus the revisionism and patriarchy in the deliberate forge of history, which excludes the names of women. Despite the role that women played in the anti-apartheid struggle, they have not been given an equal recognition their male counterparts are getting.

Read: How Winnie Mandela taught African women to rewrite their narrative

Winnie Mandela and EFF Leader Julius Malema at the funeral service of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada. (Photos GCIS)

Read: Julius Malema’s funeral tribute to the late great Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela sparks the #JuliusMalemaChallenge

Promoting national unity and inclusive identity?


To honour Mama Winnie, the William Nicol Drive will been named Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Drive. William Nicol was the then governor of Transvaal and named the road after himself. The City of Johannesburg, through the Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi told Times Live, “We have noted that the City of Johannesburg had resolved last Thursday that William Nicol Drive be renamed Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Drive and the Emfuleni Council has recommended that the R82 be named in honour of Duma Nokwe. These recommendations will be processed by the Gauteng and National Geographic Names Councils for final decision-making.”

The renaming of the drive is to help raise awareness of those that fought in the anti-apartheid struggle. While some have stated that enough roads have been named after Mama Winnie, some want the government to step up its game and name the Cape Town International Airport after her.