William Nicol Drive Renamed as Winnie Mandela Drive in Johannesburg

Johannesburg’s Renaming Decision

The Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA) has announced temporary road closures in the vicinity of the William Nicol and Sandton Drive intersection.

This closure is a significant step following the official renaming of William Nicol Drive to Winnie Mandela Drive, a decision made by Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda.

A Long-Awaited Renaming

The transformation of William Nicol Drive into Winnie Mandela Drive was initiated by the ruling ANC in March 2021.

The renaming process included a public comment phase, concluding in April of that year. Former Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo, who supported the change, emphasized the importance of renaming streets to preserve the country’s history and honor significant figures.

He underscored that names carry historical significance and contribute to social transformation and cohesion.

A Symbol of Remembrance

The renaming of this iconic landmark symbolizes the immeasurable commitment of Mama Winnie Mandela to the struggle for humanity and the liberation of South Africa.

Geoff Makhubo’s vision for renaming streets was driven by a desire to keep alive the memory of those who made significant contributions to the nation’s history.

William Nicol’s Legacy

William Nicol, previously the namesake of the road, was a Dutch Reformed minister, theologian, educator, and administrator of the Transvaal Province.

He championed the recognition of the Afrikaans language and the establishment of Afrikaans-medium schools in Johannesburg.

His dedication to teaching education in the mother tongue and translating the Bible into Zulu left a lasting impact on education in South Africa.

After years bearing his name, the road was officially renamed as Winnie Mandela Drive on September 26, 2023, in honor of the late iconic struggle stalwart.

Historical Significance of William Nicol Drive

William Nicol Drive had a rich history, including being the site of the first sermon in Afrikaans broadcast on the radio in Johannesburg.

This historic road bore the legacy of William Nicol’s contributions to education and culture in South Africa.

However, in recognition of Winnie Mandela’s indomitable spirit and her significant role in the nation’s struggle for liberation, the road’s renaming serves as a tribute to her enduring legacy.

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