De Waal Drive – the road on which Philip Kgosana and protesters of a peaceful march headed to Parliament some 50 years ago to demonstrate against the demeaning apartheid pass laws, is to be renamed in honour of the veteran.
The proposal for the renaming came from former Cape Times newspaper editor Tony Heard, who was present at the protest on March 30, 1960.
Thursday saw the City of Cape Town approve the renaming of the road in honour of the former regional secretary of the Pan Africanist Congress. On Friday, Brett Herron, chairperson of the naming and nomination committee, said the decision made during the full council meeting on Thursday was unanimous.
“Naming and renaming is part of building an inclusive city,” said Herron. “This means things like road names and markers need to reflect the diversity of Capetonians.”
Herron continued on to say he was excited and welcomed the approval, as honouring Kgosana this way was fitting.
A new signage will be ordered, and Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille is expected to host a renaming ceremony in her former cadre’s honour.
The road was originally named after Nicolaas de Waal, the first administrator of the Cape Province who initiated the road’s construction. Kgosana was only 23 years old when he was at the head of the PAC march, in which tens of thousands of people walked from Langa and Nyanga to Parliament. Protesters marched about 12km via De Waal Drive into the city, to show their anger following the Sharpeville massacre.
Kgosana was arrested and within a week the apartheid government had declared a state of emergency and banned the African National Congress and PAC, driving the movements into militarisation. He passed away on April 19, aged 80, after a short illness, and President Jacob Zuma declared a special provincial funeral for the veteran.
Fortunately before his passing, he was aware of the bid to rename the road at the time of the original proposal, said Herron. Mohlabani, Kgosana’s son, had said his father had been “deeply honoured” by the move and that the family supported it, Herron confirmed at the time.
Photography SA History