Renaming of Perseverance Building

Issued by Dr Allen Grootboom, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Spokesperson for Sport, Arts and Culture

The Democratic Alliance noted with serious concern the renaming of the Perseverance Building in Kimberley, to the IK Nkoane building.

This move is a smack in the face for brown citizens in the Northern Cape. Perseverance has a proud history dating back many years. Hundreds, if not thousands, of teachers were trained here including Peter De Villiers, the former Springbok coach, amongst others. The institution started from Lawson Primary School to become the institution that it was until the government, on ill advice, closed all teacher training colleges. Most of the educators in the Northern Cape were trained at this institution.

This name changing move, which was never published in the provincial and national media, is in line with a national agenda: people of colour are not indigenous South Africans, they never took part in the struggle for justice and equality and they should not be in history books. When you systematically break down a people’s history, you also break down their self worth and pride. Lenin, in the early 20th century, said that the poor and marginalized working class people in the country will see to the collapse of the bourgeois, the ruling class and the rich, which the ANC has become in South Africa. Their collapse is imminent by showing disregard for people, especially brown people.

The processes involved in the name change were not transparent and have to be reviewed as a matter of urgency. Names should be changed after proper community consultation and with historical significance and the like in mind. IK Nkoane does not have any historical significance other than being the first competent HOD for education who was appointed. The DA urges all educators irrespective of union affiliation to protest against this action which destroys a proud legacy. Kimberley principals, it does not matter whether you keep quiet or not, you will not get the promotion you hope to get because it is not about your yeah or nay!

The legal requirements for name changes of buildings and so forth includes inter alia: offensive linguistic corruption of a name, offensiveness because of its association, and when a name replaces an existing one that people would like restored.

This is clearly not the case in this name change. It was changed for the sake of change. Adding insult to injury, a school was already named after Mr Nkoane. The previous name of the school was HF Verwoerd, which was politically offensive to the new collective of children now in the school. Will this school now again have to change its name? No matter how much you change names, it will not change the work ethic and effectiveness of the department.

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