Cape Town streets renamed

The names of six streets in Cape Town were changed on 21 March, as part of the lengthy process to rename apartheid-era streets which began in 2011.

Hendrik Verwoerd Drive, named after the former South African prime minister and "architect of apartheid", has been changed to Uys Krige Drive, after the South African novelist, poet and playwright who wrote in both English and Afrikaans.

Coen Steytler Avenue, named after the civil servant praised by many for his modernisation of Cape Town, has been renamed Walter Sisulu Avenue, after the anti-apartheid activist who served 25 years on Robben Island on charges of planning acts of sabotage, after which he became deputy president of the African National Congress (ANC).

On hearing of the then-proposed name change last year, Steytler’s descendants criticised the move, saying “His term of office far predated the apartheid era and he can in no way be tarred with the same brush as the previous Nationalist functionaries and politicians.”

Modderdam Road has been changed to Robert Sobukwe Road, after the activist, lawyer and first president of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) political party.

Lansdowne Road, which was named after the early-20th century British foreign secretary Lord Lansdowne, has been divided into three parts, with all three sections renamed after different anti-apartheid activists.

The section between Turfhall and Palmyra road has been renamed Imam Haron Road after the outspoken critic of South Africa's race laws who died in police custody in 1969 after allegedly slipping on the stairs.

The stretch between Wetton and Swartklip roads has been renamed Japhta K Masemola Road, a founding member of the PAC who served 26 years in prison on Robben Island on charges of conspiring to overthrow the government by violent means.

The section between Swartklip and Baden Powell roads has been renamed Govan Mbeki Road, in honour of the late politician and ANC leader, who was imprisoned for 24 years on Robben Island on charges of terrorism and treason.

Finally, the Athlone Civic Centre, originally named after Britain's Earl of Athlone and Governor-General of the Union of South Africa, is now known as the Dulcie September Civic Centre, after the Cape Town anti-apartheid activist who was assassinated on her way into the ANC offices in Paris in 1988.

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