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Move to honour Winnie Madikizela-Mandela imminent

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Image: Michael Pinyana

A round of public participation completed last month is one of the last hurdles before the William Nicol Drive in Johannesburg gets renamed after late Struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, popularly known as Mam Winnie.

The proposal to rename the road was initially made by the City of Johannesburg last year and was endorsed by the province's road and transport MEC Ismael Vadi in October.

The public consultations, conducted by the South African Geographical Names Council before its term lapsed, were looking at some of the proposals for name changes including that of the William Nicol Drive, one of the city's busiest roads.

A report by the new council, expected to be appointed soon, would indicate if the name change would be endorsed or not by the council.

Former television presenter Lunga Williams and a family friend of Mam Winnie's family told Sowetan yesterday that there would be a wreath laying at her grave at Fourways Memorial Park today to mark a year since her death.

Williams had indicated that plans were already afoot to release a postage stamp bearing her name and that there were also plans to erect a statue at a koppie near her Orlando West home in Soweto.

"We were waiting for this [a year to pass since her death]. Everything would kick off after this," Williams said.

Among other proposals aimed at honouring Mam Winnie by the city included conferring the Freedom of the City on her, the highest honour the city can bestow on an individual.

The city also unanimously approved to rename its R280m calabash-shaped new council chambers after her in April last year.

Other proposals that the City of Joburg was considering since last year included possible renaming of the Carlton Centre and FNB Stadium after the struggle icon, while other suggestions included building a Winnie Madikizela-Mandela bridge in Soweto.

The EFF had pushed that the Cape Town International Airport be considered as a fitting honour for Mam Winnie.

A public meeting held at the Cape Town International Airport in June last year descended into chaos as those in attendance clashed on views, leading to tempers flaring and the meeting being disrupted.

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