Nelson Mandela University renames residences after Struggle heroes

The Nelson Mandela University has launched a process to rename its residences after Struggle heroes.
The Nelson Mandela University has launched a process to rename its residences after Struggle heroes.
Image: wikivillage.co.za

In an attempt to recognise, respect and honour SA's rich heritage the Nelson Mandela University will rename its eight student residences. The Port Elizabeth university will launch its institutional naming and renaming project on Monday.

University spokesperson Zandile Mbabela said the institutional naming and renaming project is a critical part of the university’s transformation and identity building process. The process comes after the university was renamed in 2017.

“The initial phase of the project has been the renaming and unveiling of some of the student residences. The renamed residences will honour South African men and women who made an indelible contribution to the country’s efforts towards social justice,” Mbabela said.

Among those honoured will be deceased former students Yolanda Guma and Claude Qavane, who both were instrumental in championing students rights.  Some of the names that will be used are Sarah Baartman, Lillian Ngoyi, Charlotte Maxeke, Solomon Mahlangu, Sol Plaatjie and Hector Pieterson.

The university’s arts, culture and heritage director, Michael Barry, said a university named after a person like Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela should also consist of buildings that carry names that resemble what he and leaders of his ilk stood for.

“Buildings are an important aspect of a university. It is where teaching and learning content is produced and where the institutional culture gets its legitimacy to navigate the movement and thinking of human beings interacting with it daily.

"Therefore, such property cannot carry empty names like “building 35, Xanadu”, which possess nothing significant about the context of Nelson Mandela and the general climate of higher education in South Africa in the present,” Barry said.

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