Joburg’s William Nicol Drive is becoming Winnie Mandela Drive

William Nicol Drive is being renamed Winnie Mandela Drive. Picture: CityOfJoburg/Supplied

William Nicol Drive is being renamed Winnie Mandela Drive. Picture: CityOfJoburg/Supplied

Published Sep 22, 2023


It's official! Sandton’s William Nicol Drive is getting a new name, the Winnie Mandela Drive.

The new name is set to be unveiled on Tuesday, the City of Johannesburg has confirmed.

“To honour one of our national icons, the City of Johannesburg, working together with national and provincial government, has approved the renaming of William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive,” said the City in a post on Friday.

“The unveiling will take place on September 26, which coincides with her 87th birthday.”

A resolution to change the name was passed in October 2018 in the Joburg Council and former Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi approved the name change in honour of the late struggle stalwart, following her death on April 2 that year.

The William Nicol Drive is set to be renamed Winnie Mandela Drive. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

The City of Johannesburg has also posthumously accorded her the Freedom of the City.

Three years ago, former Joburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo announced that a public participation process had begun about the name change to Winnie Mandela Drive.

“As the City, we wanted to pay our respects and officially launch the start of the public participation process to rename William Nicol Drive after a motion of Council was passed a year and a half ago in order to honour Mama Winnie,” he explains.

She died a resident of Johannesburg and she was nicknamed the mother of the nation. She had called Joburg home since 1952 when she moved to the city from her birthplace in the Transkei.


The William Nicol Drive, which stretches from Sandton to Diepsloot, is a key road cutting through Hyde Park, Bryanston, Fourways and Dainfern. It is one of Joburg's busiest roads, often being heard in radio traffic bulletins during peak morning and afternoon traffic.

According to the Heritage Portal, the road was named after William Nicol, who was a former administrator of the Transvaal government at the time of construction.

Plans around the road begun around 1947, and it was first known as Nicol Drive, with it's real name being P79/1.

Last year, the Saturday Star said the William Nicol was labelled the most treacherous road in Joburg after a staggering 155 potholes were reported on the road.