Cape Town, Western Cape
South Africa
Gugulethu Nkosi Johnson Street since 10 October 2013
one name
Gugs 7 honoured on streets of NY
NY111 will be renamed in honour of those who were killed in 1986 Crime

NY111 in Gugulethu is to be renamed Gugulethu Seven Street in memory of a group of young men who were shot and killed by the police in 1986. The street is one of 90 to get new names as part of the City of Cape Town’s efforts to remove the derogatory Native Yard (NY) designation from the area.

There have been several rounds of public participation. The first was to invite suggestions for possible names, while the second was to gauge the community’s support for the 90 names put forward by the naming committee’s panel of ex­perts. The suggested names honour a range of people, from community leaders and political leaders to musicians such as Miriam Makeba and child Aids activist Nkosi Johnson. More than 4 000 people took part in the first public participation process, and 4 900 responded to the city’s suggestions in the second round.

NY111 attracted the most attention, with 101 respondents objecting strongly to renaming the street after Frances Ames, the woman who exposed the medical team responsible for treating Steve Biko while he was in detention. They preferred the street to be named in honour of the seven young men from Gugulethu who were killed during apartheid. Naming committee chairman Brett Herron said: “The connection between people and names is very important. People did not connect with Frances Ames. We can’t ignore that 101 people indicated they wanted a different name.”

While Frances Ames did not find favour with residents, there was only one objection to the renaming of NY106 after satirist Zapiro. NY11 garnered 11 objections, with residents saying that although Oscar Mphetha lived in the street, this was no reason to honour him with a street name. One of the comments in support of renaming NY147 as Amy Biehl Drive, said: “It is (also) a remembrance of Amy Biehl because she changed many youths through her good doings.”
Despite the negative connotations of the NY prefix, many residents noted in their responses that they were familiar with numbers of their streets. There were a few suggestions to keep the NY and add the new name.

Once approved by the mayor, Transport for Cape Town will install the 90 signs, including Gugulethu Seven Street, at an over­all cost of R369 831. Meanwhile, a host of name proposals for other streets across the city have been shelved by the naming committee because they were poorly motivated.

Councillor Leonore van der Walt said an appeal made last year to rename Gert van Rooyen Avenue, because of its association with the alleged paedophile who abducted six children in the 1980s, should be ignored. The street was named after a different Van Rooyen, she said.

Anél Lewis Cape Argus

10 October 2013
Anél Lewis, Cape Town