Struggle Icon Street Names in Cape Town
The year 2014 is a significant milestone for Cape Town and South Africa as it marks twenty years since the country became a democracy in 1994. Twenty years ago the only tourists to Cape Town were from up country, and whilst we still welcome the regular return of our South African visitors, a growing kaleidoscope of visitors from across the world are streaming into our city to come and see our exceptional landscape and submerge themselves in the melting pot that is Cape Town, to hear our stories and understand our blended culture. 2014 is a time in which SA will reflect on achievement’s past and imagine the future.
To this end, Cape Town recently renamed a number of its streets and landmarks to honour the heroes of the struggle for freedom:
Helen Suzman Boulevard, Cape Town
Helen Suzman gave up her early teaching career to enter politics. She was unequivocally opposed to apartheid throughout her political career and spent a total of 36 years in parliament. Suzman visited Nelson Mandela on numerous occasions while he was in prison and was present at the signing of the new constitution in 1996. She died on New Year's Day 2009, aged 91.
Robert Sobukwe Road, Bellville
Robert Sobukwe was a strong believer in an Africanist future for South Africa. He was an ANC activist from 1948 to 1957. He left the ANC to co-found the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and was elected its first President in 1959. On 21 March 1960, the PAC led a nationwide protest against the Pass Law which resulted in Sobukwe's arrest. He was charged and convicted of incitement and sentenced to three years in prison. After serving his sentence, he was interned on Robben Island. Sobukwe died of lung cancer on 27 February 1978.
Govan Mbeki Road, Khayelitsha
Govan Mbeki was a South African politician. He was a leader of the African National Congress (ANC) and of the South African Communist Party, imprisoned after the Rivonia Trial for terrorism and treason. He was released from custody after serving 24 years on Robben Island. After his imprisonment he served in South Africa's post-apartheid Senate from 1994 to 1997 as Deputy President of the Senate, and its successor, the National Council of Provinces from 1997 to 1999.
Mbeki was the father of former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, and political economist, Moeletsi Mbeki. He died in 2001.
Dulcie September Stadium, Athlone
Dulcie September was a teacher who became an important political figure in the struggle against apartheid. She was assassinated whilst in Paris in 1988. At the time she had been investigating the trafficking of arms between France and South Africa. She was 52 years old.
Walter Sisulu Drive, Foreshore
The child of a domestic worker and a white civil servant, Walter Sisulu was an active member in the ANC and co-founder of the ANC Youth League. He was tried alongside Nelson Mandela and others in the Rivonia Trial and spent much of his incarceration on Robben Island. He was later to become Deputy President of the ANC.
Japtha K Masemola Road, Wetton
“The Tiger of Azania”, Masemola was also known as “Bra Jeff”. He was a founding member of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). Masemola, together with others, went into exile after the banning of the PAC and plotted a revolt to overthrow the apartheid regimen. They were discovered and were sentenced to prison. Masemola spent 26 years on Robben Island. During his time there he masterminded an escape but was again discovered and given an extra year on his sentence. After his release he was very active in politics for just 6 months, until his death in 1990 in a car crash, the circumstances of which were said to be mysterious.
Imam Haroon Road in Rondebosch East
A man of great integrity, Imam Haroon was appointed as the leader of the Al Jaami’ah mosque in Claremont at just 32. He used his position within the community to highlight the plight of those affected by apartheid. He contested the shutting down of mosques in terms of the Group Areas Act and assisted those living in fear in the townships. Increasingly, the Imam was surveyed by the security police until his arrest and continual torture. After days of beatings and food deprivation, he died on 27 September 1969. His wife was told he had a heart attack.
Released for Cape Town Tourism by Rabbit in a Hat Communications, Tammy White, +27 21 671 2640, +27 73 202 5041, firstname.lastname@example.org.