The names of two iconic Cape Muslims will form part of a naming proposal for the seven footbridges crossing Nelson Mandela Boulevard and Rhodes Drive. Tuan Guru and Taliep Petersen are amongst the list of names, which will be decided on in a public participation process. Residents and interested parties will have the opportunity to comment on these proposals and to air their views.
Imam Abdullah Ibn Qadhu Abdus Salaam, better known as Tuan Guru, is regarded as the Father of Islam in South Africa. Tuan Guru was a prince from Tidore in the Trinate Islands and a descendant of the Sultan of Morocco. He was banished by the Dutch invaders to the Cape in 1780 and was incarcerated on Robben Island for 12 years until 1792. After his release, he married Khadija van de Kaap. While on Robben Island, he wrote several copies of the Holy Qur’an from memory, possibly the first Qur’an in South Africa.
Taliep Petersen will be remembered as one of Cape Town’s most beloved musicians. A son of the city, Petersen’s exceptional musical talent was honed during his youth in District Six. He was a composer and director of a number of popular musical. Petersen worked with David Kramer, with whom he won the Laurence Olivier Award – the highest honour in British theatre, considered to be the theatre industry’s equivalent of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
Other names include:
– /A!kunto: /A!kunto (or Klaas Stoffel), the first contributor to the Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd Archive of /xam and !kun texts.
– Ingrid Jonker, the South African poet who committed suicide by drowning at the age of 31 in Sea Point. Her poem ‘Die Kind’ was read out by former President Nelson Mandela during the opening of South Africa’s first democratic parliament in May 1994.
– Dawid Kruiper: a traditional healer and leader of the Khomani San in the Kalahari. Kruiper spoke for the rights of indigenous people to the United Nations in 1994, and led the way for successful land claims for the San People in South Africa, culminating in the restoration of 40 000 hectares of land in 1999.
– Father John Oliver: the Anglican priest from District Six who passed away in 2013. He founded the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative and spent many years building bridges between the different faiths, highlighting our similarity rather than our differences.
– Father Basil van Rensburg: the South African Catholic priest who gained international recognition for his fight against the apartheid regime’s forced removal of the people of District Six. He mobilised public opinion against the mass removals, writing to newspapers and holding public meetings.
The recommendation follows from a public participation process that was conducted during November 2013 and February 2014, during which the public was asked to propose names for the seven unnamed footbridges. This process was supported by a subsequent analysis by the City’s Public Participation Unit to determine which of the over 2 000 name proposals that were received indeed complied with the City’s Naming Policy.
In the end, 638 compliant naming proposals – ranging from well-known South Africans to general names honouring our rich cultural heritage and fauna and flora – were considered by the Naming Committee. As such, and after careful consideration, the abovementioned seven names have been recommended for the final round of public participation.
“The naming of these footbridges is an ideal opportunity to commemorate the people and events that influenced the fibre and culture of the city. We were pleasantly surprised by the huge interest in this naming process and the eager participation by our residents to take ownership of their city,” said the Chairperson of the City’s Naming Committee, Councillor Brett Herron.
“Names can have a powerful emotional effect on residents, and this naming process is part of our efforts in building a new inclusive space where all of us feel at home. We sincerely hope that our residents will once again participate with the same vigour and enthusiasm in this final round of public participation.”
Furthermore, the Naming Committee recommended that the park in Quinan Road in Somerset West be renamed after the late doctor and trade unionist, Neil Aggett. This follows from a localised public participation process that was conducted during October last year.
Aggett was known for his work in hospitals in formerly disadvantaged areas and his role in empowering workers to oppose unfair labour practices. He died in police custody in 1981. Since then, he has been recognised as one of the icons in the struggle against apartheid.
The Naming Committee also recommended the renaming of the Old Civic Centre in Macassar to the Macassar Riverside Civic Centre. Subcouncil 22 submitted this proposal to the Naming Committee in April last year, whereafter a comprehensive public participation process was conducted to establish whether this proposal had support from the local community. VOC