South Africa: In the Name of Reconciliation, Let's Please Find Another Name to Replace That of William Nicol Drive


The DA has recently raised a petition against the changing of the name of William Nicol Drive in Joburg, claiming that the cost of the change is far greater than the benefit. There is of course another politics being played out. The fact that the ANC-run City of Johannesburg wishes to change the name to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Drive is very much at the centre of the argument.

On Monday, 26 April 2021, the ANC ramped up the rhetoric surrounding the changing of the name of William Nicol Drive with party Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte leading a group on to the side of the road in a show of support for the change of name. But even here, the divisions in our country were on display with the presence of some Ace Magashule-supporting MKMVA members. Duarte, as a result, was placed in a position of having to state that those in camouflage did not "represent our aspirations".

The philosopher RG Collingwood suggested in his book, "The Principles of Art", that road names and statues were examples of "magic". He equated them to a rain or war dance. Nobody, he argued, really believes that a war dance will bring you victory --...

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