'What about other freedom fighters'

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The eThekwini municipality and the government of KwaZulu- Natal continues to come in for criticism from the public in for renaming buildings after ANC political leaders.

On Friday the party officially named the Durban ICC and its Arena after ANC leader Albert Luthuli. Luthuli was the first president of the ANC and South Africa's first Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The council also named the city's 2010 soccer stadium the Moses Mabhida Stadium - a move sharply criticised by the IFP and other opposition parties.

Protas Vilakazi, 23, a resident of Pietermaritzburg, said the issue was not about Luthuli, but about the fact that there were other freedom fighters who played a role in liberating the country.

"There are so many things named after him. It's wrong for only one or two freedom fighters to be recognised. What about the others?" he asked.

Nokuphiwa Phakathi, 26, from KwaMashu said it was not wrong for Luthuli to be recognised, but naming everything after him was "a bit much".

"The idea is right, but they should have supplied young people with books about him and other freedom fighters so we could learn about them. Changing street names is just not on," she said.

Cromwell Mthembu, 37, of KwaMashu shared her sentiments, saying there were other freedom fighters like Andrew Zondo and Solomon Mahlangu who should be honoured.

"You can't have Luthuli this, Luthuli that. What about other people?

"Why can't they recognise the living heroes and heroines who never made it at leadership level, but are known to have contributed to the struggle?" he asked.

Collin Maphumulo said there was no need to change street names.

"It's inconvenient and just makes life difficult for everyone," said Maphumulo.

But eThekwini mayor Obed Mlaba, speaking from Oakland, New Zealand where he is attending the Commonwealth conference, said it was wrong to complain about a few places named after Luthuli, when there were five statues of Mahatma Gandhi in eThekwini alone.