De Waal Drive Is A Thing Of The Past

De Waal Drive has officially been renamed as Philp Kgosana Drive. But is this really what the city needs to be focusing on now? We find out.
Melissa Cohen
Last week, Cape Town mayor, Patricia De Lille announced that De Waal Drive will go by another name. The highway's new name is Philp Kgosana Drive. Many people are up in arms surrounding the name change, but the signage has gone up non-the-less. The unveiling ceremony took place on October 12, in honour of the late anti-apartheid struggle hero's 81st birthday. But was the name change really crucial at a time when Cape Town has more important things to worry about- such as critical water conditions? We find out...
Read more about Cape Town's taps running dry below

Who Was Philp Kgosana? 

Kgosana was an anti-apartheid activist who led a march of over 30 000 protesters from Langa and Nyanga to Cape Town on March 30 1960. Kgosana was a Pan Africanist Congress stalwart who organised anti-pass protests. This particular protest followed the Sharpville Massacre on March 21 1960. Kgosana passed away on April 19 2017 at the age of 80. The 12km march which ended up in the city centre, went along the old De Waal Drive.
"I was honoured to have known and stood alongside Kgosana during the darkest days of apartheid and drew from his determination as we fought together to realise freedom, justice, and equality for the people of our country," explained De Lille in a statement earlier this year.

So Why The Name Change? 

The original proposal for the name change came from former editor of the Cape Times, Tony Heard.
Heard approached the city with the proposal last year. “My proposal in changing of the name had nothing to do with politics but peaceful disciplined protest and courage. During my time as a journalist I had witnessed Kgosana leading a huge protest from Langa to the CBD that led to the closure of businesses and schools. He stood up to say enough is enough," expressed Heard at the unveiling ceremony.
The citizens were asked to comment on the name change. The council also held a meeting to discussed the proposed name change. According to Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Brett Herron, the decision was unanimous.
"Naming and renaming is part of building an inclusive city. This means things like road names and markers need to reflect the diversity of Capetonians," explained Herron in a previous interview. Need some more cash at the end of the month? Why don't you start saving on your car insurance today? See how much you can save.

How Will This Renaming Affect You? 

Besides for getting lost, there are many aspects that need to be altered after the renaming of a road in the city. In 2012, Hendrik Verwoerd Drive in Bellville was renamed.  Many of the business owners on that road were unhappy with the name change as they had to spend their own money to change the address on business cards and signage. The city doesn't provide financial assistance for companies who work on renamed roads. According to Labour Lawyer, Michael Bagraim, in a 2012 interview, the costs to change addresses is not too pricey.
"A lot of heat is being made about the name changes and how much it will cost, but this is all temporary."

Is This A Priority? 

Although the name change might be in good spirits to transform the city and incorporate the names of influential figures from the past, however is now the right time? Is it arguably ever the right time? Well, with Cape Town in Level 5 water restrictions with the recent implementation of water outages, surely there are more important things for the city to be worrying about? Surely, every cent needs to be considered in order to provide finances for the desalination plants.