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A total of 27 street names in Pretoria’s central business district were changed by the City of Tshwane in early 2012 to reflect a “shared heritage”.
The city council passed a resolution on changing identified street names at a meeting in September 2007.
According to council speaker Khorombi Dau the council “saw a need to celebrate the country’s capital in a manner that included other cultures and languages. The process was intended to reconstruct and transform the image of the city.”
Dau said the new street names are those of people who had contributed to the liberation struggle, the struggle for gender equality and cultural activists.
Related article: List of all the changed street names.
Here is a list of the people that the streets are named after, as well as a short description of their importance in our country’s history :
Peter Magano (formerly Leah Mangope Road)
Peter Magano was a member of the ANC and the Pretoria Regional Action Committee which was established in early 1955. He became one of the first volunteers to join Umkhonto we Sizwe and spent 17 years on Robben Island.
Molefe Makinta (formerly Lucas Mangope Road)
Molefe Makinta was an ANC activist that was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment which he served on Robben Island from 1964 to 1976. He played a leadership role in establishing an authentic Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association and was its provincial treasurer until his death in 2004.
Stanza Bopape (formerly Church Street, from Nelson Mandela Drive to the east)
Johannes Maisha Stanza Bopape was elected in 1987 as the first general secretary of the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) in Mamelodi.
Helen Joseph (formerly Church Street, from Nelson Mandela Drive to Church Square)
Helen Joseph (née Fennell) was born in England and later became the founding member of the Congress of Democrats and one of the leaders who read out clauses of the Freedom Charter at the Congress of the People in Kliptown in 1955.
WF Nkomo (formerly Church Street, from Church Square to R511)
Dr William Frederick Nkomo was a medical doctor, educationist and community leader who served as the Trustee of the Bantu Welfare Trust and was elected president of the South African Institute of Race Relations.
Elias Motswaledi (formerly Church Street, from R511 to the west)
An anti-apartheid activist and one of the eight men sentenced to life imprisonment at the Rivonia Trial.
Nico Smith (formerly Michael Brink Street)
Former professor of theology at the University of Stellenbosch, member of the Afrikaner Broederbond organisation and minister of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC).
Sefako Makgatho (formerly Zambezi Drive)
Sefako Makgatho was a politician, journalist, teacher and the second president of the ANC (1917-1924). He later retired from politics to become a preacher of the local Methodist Church before starting an independent African church.
Johan Heyns (formerly Hendrik Verwoerd Drive)
Johan Heyns was an influential Afrikaner Calvinist theologian and moderator of the general synod of the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK) and instrumental in the 1986 NGK decision to abandon its support for apartheid and brand it a sin.
Steve Biko (formerly Beatrix / Mears / Voortrekker Street)
An anti-apartheid activist in the 1960s and 1970s and founder of the Black Consciousness Movement and the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO).
Solomon Mahlangu (formerly Hans Strijdom Avenue)
An ANC activist whp was accused by the apartheid government on charges of murder and terrorism, and was executed by hanging at the Pretoria Central Prison on 6 April 1979.
Charlotte Maxeke (formerly Mitchell Street)
Founder of the Wilberforce Institute and activist in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which later elected her president of the Women’s Missionary Society.
Frances Baard (formerly Schoeman Street)
An organiser of the ANC Women’s League that was a defendant in the Treason Trial and later became a member of the executive committee of the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU).
Lilian Ngoyi (formerly Van der Walt Street)
An anti-apartheid activist, treason trialist and president of the ANC Women’s League. In 1956 she led the women’s anti-pass march to the Union Buildings.
Thabo Sehume (formerly Andries Street)
Thabo Sehume was a community worker that dedicated his time to working with the municipal workers union, general mobilisation work and the establishment of an advice centre for Tshwane, particularly the community of Atteridgeville.
Es’kia Mphahlele (formerly DF Malan Street)
South African writer, academic, artist and activist. He was banned from teaching by the apartheid government in 1951, but joined the University of the Witwatersrand in 1977.
Sisulu (formerly Prinsoo Street)
Named after Walter Sisulu, the former secretary-general and deputy president of the ANC that served 26 years in Robben Island Prison.
Nana Sita (formerly Skinner Street)
Nana Sita was the secretary of the Pretoria branch, and later president of the Transvaal Indian Congress and was involved in the Indian Passive Resistance Movement.
Jeff Masemola (formerly Jacob Maree Street)
An Atteridgeville teacher and Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) anti-apartheid activist, that is regarded the longest serving political prisoner in South Africa after serving 28 years for conspiracy to commit sabotage.
Florence Ribeiro Drive (formerly Queen Wilhelmina Avenue)
Florence Barbara Ribeiro and her husband, Dr Fabian Ribeiro provided shelter and support to young activists throughout their lives, but was assassinated by agents of the state on 1 December 1986.
Robert Sobukwe (formerly Esselen Street)
A political dissident who founded the Pan Africanist Congress in opposition to the apartheid regime.
Madiba Drive (formerly Vermeulen Street)
Named after Nelson Mandela, one of the most famous political leaders in the world and former president of South Africa. Mandela has received more than 250 awards over four decades, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.
Sophie de Bruyn (formerly Schubart Street)
A founding member of the South African Congress of Trade Union, and one of the that led more than 20 000 women in a march to the Union Buildings.
Kgosi Mampuru (formerly Potgieter Street)
A local chief during the 19th century that fiercely resisted colonial rule and was subsequently hanged by the colonial government in 1883.
Johannes Ramokhoase (formerly Proes Street)
Johannes Lebone Slo Ramokhoase was the first black mayor of Pretoria, in 1995. He was also the longest serving chairman of the South African Democratic Teachers Union.
Jan Shoba (formerly Duncan Street)
Jan Shoba was a member of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army’s (Apla) and after imprisonment on Robben Island became the personal bodyguard of former PAC President, Mlamli Makwetu.
January Masilela (formerly Genl. Louis Botha Drive)
Former secretary of defence and also deputy secretary-general of the ANC.
Justice Mahomed (formerly Walker Charles Street)
The first chief justice appointed by post-apartheid South Africa, and also our country’s first non-white judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa.
For more information on Pretoria’s street name changes, visit the City of Tshwane’s website at www.tshwane.gov.za.
Please see: Maps of Pretoria for a downloadable document with the New Pretoria Street Names.