School name change: Good riddance to 'Verwoerd'‚ say Twitter users

18 May 2018 - 10:33 By Naledi Shange
File photo of Hendrik Verwoerd.
File photo of Hendrik Verwoerd.
Image: Sunday Times

Parents of learners attending Hoërskool Hendrik Verwoerd in Pretoria this week got the ball rolling on changing the name of the school after they agreed to dump the name of Verwoerd who was the prime minister of South Africa in the apartheid years.

Gauteng’s MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi had announced in 2016 that all offensive and oppressive names and emblems in Gauteng schools had to go.

Actress Nokuthula Ledwaba was one of those who welcomed the proposed change of the name of the school.

She took to Lesufi’s twitter feed where she wrote:

Others however proposed more drastic changes‚ saying simply altering a schools name would not change the history or the systems in place.

Not everyone shared this view.

One person told Lesufi that keeping the name while opening the school gates to the same people that Verwoerd oppressed was a symbol of victory.

Others gave their suggestions of what the name should be changed to. One Twitter user suggested that the name be changed to Wilhelm Verwoerd.

“[He is Verwoerd’s] grandson who took a stand against apartheid and who still does great work‚” suggested Reverend Edwin Arrison.

Meanwhile‚ others suggested that Lesufi facilitate the changing of other schools‚ street names and monuments‚ some of which were not even in the Gauteng region.

These included Hoërskool Langenhoven in Pretoria‚ which was named after a South African poet who penned Afrikaans literature and cultural history.

Others called for Lesufi to help change the names of the Hendrick Verwoerd drive in Centurion and the HF Verwoerd Tunnel in Limpopo.

Some suggested name changes for Hoërskool Staatspresident C R Swart‚ DF Malan in Meyerton and General Smuts in Vereeniging.