The South African

Talks begin to rename William Nicol Drive after Winnie Mandela


Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg Geoffrey Makhubo released a statement on Saturday 26 September — struggle icon Mama Winnie Mandela’s birthday — saying that talks have begun regarding the renaming of William Nicol Drive. 

Makhubo, on Saturday, paid respect to the “free woman of the City of Johannesburg Winnie Mandela” by leading a wreath-laying ceremony as she would have turned 84. 

On March 10 1957, former president Nelson Mandela asked Winnie to marry him and they celebrated their engagement together in Johannesburg on 25 May 1958. Together, they had two daughters, Zenani and Zindziwa.


Makhubo said that in her honour, he launched the start of the public participation process which is intended to rename the area. 

“As the City of Johannesburg, we wanted to pay our respect today 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,” said Makhubo. 

“Mama Winnie Mandela was a struggle icon, one of the first black social workers in South Africa who dedicated her life to the betterment of this country. She was bestowed with the Freeman of City award — the City’s highest civilian honour. Until her last day, Mama Winnie was a resident of this World Class African City” added Makhubo. 

The mayor said the renaming of one of the City’s iconic landmarks is a result of council’s commitment, which symbolises the immeasurable commitment of Mama Winnie to the struggle for humanity and the liberation of the country. 


Also on Saturday, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) reiterated its call for Cape Town International Airport to be renamed as the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Airport. 

“We reiterate our call for the renaming of Cape Town International Airport to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Airport. This is a long-overdue honour that ought to be bestowed on the mother of the nation, for her unrepentant struggle against racism,” it said. 

In 2019, EFF leader Julius Malema led the EFF motion to have Cape Town International Airport renamed.  

“This process will give Mama Winnie the respect she deserves as an icon and a liberator,” it added. 

“Today Mama Winnie celebrates her birthday in the presence of her most trusted and committed comrades. She is in the presence of Chris Hani, Peter Mokaba, Anton Lembede, Robert Sobukwe and Charlotte Maxeke and looks over us as we carry the baton they passed to this generation”


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