The NY1 road in Gugulethu, Cape Town, was officially renamed Stephen Biko Drive on Monday.
The renaming process was in line with Biko’s philosophy, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said in a speech prepared for delivery on Heritage Day,
This was because it replaced terms from the past, associated with inferiority, with names associated with power.
In the old road name “NY” refers to “native yard”.
“… What was unique in South Africa and the Black Consciousness movement was the mobilisation around asserting agency in the face of history… for freedom,” De Lille said.
This involved breaking down the “mental prison” built through semantic means to emancipate the minds of black South Africans.
“Like many great prophets telling difficult truths, Steve Biko was murdered for his ideas… [and] the power of his revolution.”
Naming the road in his honour was an apt tribute, as it would give power to future generations by doing away with terms associated with historical injustice.
“…This is the change of a reconciliation programme that tries to shape a better future from a divided past.
“It is by building, brick by brick, the Cape Town of tomorrow that truly belongs to everyone,” De Lille said. – Sapa