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Afrikanerbond Criticizes ANC for Renaming Johannesburg’s William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive

Published September 29, 2023
9 months ago

The Afrikanerbond has lodged vehement objections against the African National Congress (ANC)'s recent decision to rename Johannesburg's William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive, branding this move as analogous to "conventional communist renaming practices" that were prevalent in the former Soviet Union.

As a pro-Afrikaner organization and a successor to the Afrikaner Broederbond – a secretive society once headed by William Nicol, the Afrikanerbond expressed disapproval at what they perceive as the ANC's attempt to rewrite South African history during Heritage Month.

This renaming event transpired on Tuesday and was officially officiated by Joburg’s Executive Mayor, Kabelo Gwamanda. It was marked by significant turnout from ANC and Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) supporters in Sandton, one of Joburg's busiest districts.

William Nicol, the figure at the center of the controversy, was a Dutch Reformed Church minister and educationist who significantly contributed to the Afrikaner community and Afrikaans schools in Witwatersrand. He assumed the role of chairman of the Broederbond from June 1924 to March 1925 and passed away on June 22, 1967.

The Afrikanerbond has argued that the ANC's use of its political power to fast-track this renaming during Heritage Month seems suspect and serves to undermine the country's diverse history. The organization also pointed out parallels between this event and similar practices in the Soviet Union post-communist takeover, which aimed at eliminating references to political losers from their history.

However, the ANC contends that renaming the road is a critical step towards fostering a sense of continuity between South Africa's past and present, while glorifying the influential role of women like Winnie Mandela in the nation's struggle. This sentiment was echoed by EFF, affirming the ceremony's profound significance in keeping Mama Winnie's legacy alive and reinforcing the agenda to remove remaining traces of apartheid-era namesakes.

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