Yesterday marked a milestone in the history of South Africa when one of the busiest roads in Johannesburg, William Nicol Drive, officially changed its name to Winnie Mandela Drive.
This officiation took place on what would have been the late struggle stalwart’s 87th birthday, a very heavy day for the Mandela family as they also had to announce the death of Zoleka, who is daughter to the late Zindzi Mandela.
A statement from the family shared that Zoleka died on September 25th, surrounded by her loved ones. Zoleka had been battling the return of cancer and had shared that she started having sessions with her family in order to prepare them for her inevitable departure.
The road’s name change comes long after the government had started initiating the process of getting rid of all the apartheid-associated names on South Africa’s major roads, an exercise seen as costly by some.
William Nicol was one of the leaders in the forefront of the apartheid régime. Between the years 1948 and 1952, he was administered in the apartheid government of the Transvaal.
Shared by the SABC news, ANC Gauteng spokesperson Lesego Makhubela was quoted saying:
“If you know what William Nicol represented, he is one of the founders of apartheid who was the administrator with the apartheid government of the Transvaal from 1948-1952, who is also the second chairman of one of the organisations that still contribute to the economic misery of our people, the Broederbond. And who represented a very racist, fascist outlook of our country, unapologetic about his racist use. For us to continue to have had his name on that strategic and important street in Johannesburg represented everything that is bad with our democracy.”
ANC leader and member of parliament Nomvula Mokonyane shared:
In 2018 the African National Congress
(ANC) put forth a motion in the Johannesburg City Council to rename William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive in honor of one of South Africa’s iconic anti-apartheid activists and leaders.#WinnieMandelaDrive#SheMultiplied pic.twitter.com/4kx8QOOj8w
— Nomvula Mokonyane (@nomvulamoko_) September 26, 2023