City sits on request to honour Winnie

17 April 2018 | Local News

A proposal to have a Windhoek street named after late South African liberation stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is still being considered a good 12 years since the idea was first mooted by former Swapo Party Youth League secretary Elijah Ngurare.

The SPYL at the time had written to the City of Windhoek top brass in 2006 to have a street named after Madikizela-Mandela. The anti-apartheid icon died on 2 April this year and was laid to rest at the weekend in her native South Africa.

Windhoek mayor Muesee Kazapua agreed with those calling for a Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Street, saying the idea would have to go through a special committee that deals with the renaming of streets.

“It can happen but that request needs to be forwarded. Any organisation or person has a right to request to have a street named in honour of someone. I am in agreement with the request to have a street named after Madikizela-Mandela because of her contribution to independence,” said Kazapua.

Ngurare had in 2006 first raised the idea of naming a street after the liberation struggle stalwart. In 2014 the SPYL had reminded City of Windhoek leadership on the 2006 proposal, including renaming Bismarck Street in Windhoek West after Namibian struggle stalwart Simeon Kambo Shixungileni.

Shixungileni was second-in-command when Swapo PLAN fighters engaged apartheid South African forces at Ongulumbashe on August 26, 1966, thereby unleashing the protracted armed liberation struggle that ended in 1989.

Both proposals were addressed to the then City of Windhoek CEO Niilo Taapopi.

“When we requested the renaming of a street after Madikizela-Mandela, they said it would go to a committee that deals with that. They are saying that they are still discussing it. It took a long time and we followed up intermittently. Last year we followed up with the new council. They kept saying that they will be working on it,” Ngurare said yesterday.

“It is very unfortunate that she could not see a street renamed after her. It is very sad that we cannot invite her.”

According to Ngurare, the late Madikizela-Mandela embodied the spirit of Pan-Africanism and was a mother figure. Secretary of the Swapo Party Women's Council Eunice Iipinge also recently said plans were underway to have a street named after Madikizela-Mandela following a directive by President Hage Geingob in 2015.

Madikizela-Mandela was bestowed the award of the Most Brilliant Order of the Sun, First Class in recognition of her contribution towards Namibia's independence by Geingob in 2015. The late Madikizela-Mandela could not attend the ceremony, and Geingob used her funeral to invite her children to Namibia in order to receive the award bestowed on their mother.


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