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Cape icons could be honoured in bridge naming

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The City of Cape Town’s Naming Committee on Wednesday recommended the names for seven footbridges crossing Nelson Mandela Boulevard and Rhodes Drive to the mayor for decision.

|a!kunta, Tuan Guru, Ingrid Jonker, Dawid Kruiper; Father John Oliver, Taliep Petersen and Father Basil van Rensburg made the list following a public participation process, the City said in a statement.

During a second round of public participation which took place in April, 58 residents commented on the proposal.

The selected names were chosen after the feedback was considered.

|a!kunta, or Klaas Stoffel, was the first contributor to the Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd Archive of /xam and !kun texts. He contributed some narratives and a large number of words and sentences to the archive.

Guru, or Imam Abdullah Ibn Qadhu Abdus Salaam, a prince from Tidore in the Trinate Islands and a descendant of the Sultan of Morocco, is regarded as the Father of Islam in South Africa. He was banished to the Cape by the Dutch invaders in 1780 and was imprisoned on Robben Island for 12 years until 1792. While incarcerated, he wrote several copies of the Holy Qur’an from memory, possibly the first Qur’an in South Africa.

Jonker is an iconic poet who committed suicide by drowning at the age of 31 in Sea Point.

Kruiper was a traditional healer and leader of the Khomani San in the Kalahari. He spoke for the rights of indigenous people to the United Nations in 1994, and was instrumental in the successful land claim for the San People in South Africa, culminating in the restoration of 40 000 hectares of land in 1999.

Father John was an Anglican priest from District Six who died in 2013. He founded the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative.

Petersen was a singer, composer and director of a number of popular musicals. He worked with David Kramer, with whom he won the Laurence Olivier Award – the highest honour in British theatre.

Father Basil was a Catholic priest who gained international recognition for his fight against the forced removals in District Six. He mobilised public opinion against the mass removals, writing to newspapers and holding public meetings.

Chairperson of the City’s naming committee, Brett Herron, said the naming of these footbridges was an opportunity to commemorate the people and events that influenced the character and culture of the city.

“The naming of public spaces, bridges and roads, among others, is pivotal in building a shared community across different cultural, social and economic groups.

“We want to create a city where residents feel acknowledged, heard and valued and this is why we have invested so much time and effort in the public participation processes.”

The seven names have been recommended to Mayor Patricia de Lille for approval and, if supported, they will be recommended to council for a final decision.

According to the City, the recommendation follows an initial public participation process conducted during November 2013 and February 2014, during which the public was asked to propose names.

Over 2 000 name proposals were received.

Eventually, 638 compliant naming proposals were considered and the final seven were recommended for the final round of public participation that was concluded last month. News24


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