Afrikanerbond slams ANC for renaming of William Nicol Drive

William Nicol Drive officially renamed Winnie Mandela Drive. Picture: Kamogelo Moichela/IOL

William Nicol Drive officially renamed Winnie Mandela Drive. Picture: Kamogelo Moichela/IOL

Published Sep 27, 2023


The Afrikanerbond has slammed the renaming of Joburg's William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive, accusing the African National Congress of adopting conventional communist renaming practices which were adopted by the former Soviet Union.

It accused the ANC of rewriting history during heritage month.

The Afrikanerbond is the successor to the Afrikaner Broederbond, formerly a South African secret society, of which Nicol was its second chairperson between June 1924 and March 1925.

Contrary to its predecessor, its membership is open to everyone over the age of 18 years who identifies with the Afrikaner community.

This week, Joburg’s Executive Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda officially renamed one of Joburg's busiest roads on Tuesday in Sandton as ANC and Economic Freedom Fighter supporters came out in their numbers to revel.

William Nicol was a Dutch Reformed Church minister, theologian, educationist and Administrator of the Transvaal who played a role in the development of Afrikaners and Afrikaans schools in the Witwatersrand.

He was also the second chairman of the Broederbond for the term June 1924 to March 13,1925. He died on June 22,1967 at the age of 80.

In a statement, the Afrikanerbond accused the ANC for using its political powers to erase the country's history, adding that "the ANC has fallen into a narrative that portrays the struggle as the sole and only noteworthy history of South Africa".

It said that the ANC's speed to change the name to Winnie Mandela Drive in Heritage Month has raised eyebrows.

"The ruling party has repeatedly shown through its conduct that the diversity of South Africa is promoted only through lip service while being undermined by actions," it said.

It said that it has encompassed more than the struggle and included much more than the ANC and its limited participation in a moment in history.

The Afrikanerbond compared the ANC with the Soviet Union, where according to it, changing names was a favourite thing to do after the communist takeover.

"The symbolism behind this ideology was to malign those who had lost the political struggle and over time write them out of that chapter of Soviet history. This is the case in South Africa in 2023 as well.

"Once proud streets boast new names of struggle leaders in 2023 but at the same time signal much more - broken traffic lights, sidewalks that have fallen into disrepair and potholes that have become the norm rather than the exception," it said.

However, Afrikanerbond claimed that the changing of names does Nicol and other leaders of the past no credit to associate their names with the current decay, vandalism and destruction. It vowed to continue to honour Nicol's memory.

"A dilapidated street is not worthy of him," it said.

Meanwhile, the ANC said that renaming of the road formed as part of the party's efforts to cement women’s participation in the struggle.

“By placing the name of Mama Winnie Mandela highly on a pedestal the ANC seeks to create a tangible connection between South Africa's past and its present, fostering a sense of pride and continuity among its citizens,” ANC said.

The EFF said that the renaming ceremony carried profound significance, placing Mama Winnie’s memory at the centre of Johannesburg.

It stated that it would continue to protect the legacy of Mama Winnie and ensure that the motion to remove other names from the apartheid era.

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