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There’s more than just a name at stake in renaming of...

Defend Truth


There’s more than just a name at stake in renaming of Cape Town International Airport


Rebone Tau is a political commentator and author of The Rise and Fall of the ANCYL. She is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Pan-African Thought & Conversation (IPATC) at the University of Johannesburg. She writes in her personal capacity.

In the past few weeks there have been discussions on social media on who the Cape Town International Airport should be named after. There is a view by the ANC that it should be named after our first democratic president, Nelson Mandela. Which gets one thinking whether the ANC does not recognise all of its fallen heroes and heroines if everything in this country is named after Nelson Mandela. We have roads that are named after him, a municipality in the Eastern Cape and even our bank notes have his face on them.

It’s high time that young women stand up and question some of these decisions that are taken by the ANC as they wear doeks in Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s honour. This year we laid to rest the Mother of the Nation. She contributed so much to the Struggle yet the ANC does not see it fit that Cape Town International Airport be named after her.

So many tourists enter South Africa via Cape Town International Airport. Renaming it in honour of Madikizela-Mandela will encourage them to read up about Mama Winnie and the role she played in the country’s revolution. We owe it to her.

When will we honour other Struggle icons in this country if everything is about Nelson Mandela? There’s Robert Sobukwe who contributed so much to the fight against the brutal system. No one talks about Patrick Molaoa, the last president of the ANC Youth League before the banning of the ANC, and who was part of Umkhonto weSizwe Luthuli detachment.

Why can’t we name an airport after Steve Biko? This year we are also celebrating Albertina Sisulu’s centenary, what will be named after her?

While one acknowledges that Nelson Mandela was the face of our Struggle in the ANC, as it was resolved within the party, we should not deny the role in the Struggle of others who sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom we have today. It took a lot of people to stand up and fight the brutal apartheid system, not one icon.

The ANC needs to stop making everything about Nelson Mandela. It is wrong and misleading, as history will be distorted at the rate we are going. DM

Rebone Tau is a former ANCYL NTT member, writing in personal capacity.


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