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Good idea or ‘leave it alone’? — SA weighs in on calls to rename Cape Town airport after Tutu

03 January 2022 - 08:52
There have been calls for Cape Town International Airport to be renamed after Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. File photo.
There have been calls for Cape Town International Airport to be renamed after Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. File photo.
Image: Paul Hackett/Reuters

South Africans have taken to social media to weigh in on Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s suggestion that Cape Town International Airport be renamed after Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Tutu was honoured at an official funeral service on Saturday before his ashes were laid to rest in St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town.

During a 30-minute ceremony on Sunday to lay the ashes, Makgoba said the best way to honour Tutu and keep his legacy alive is to “turn a new page”.

“Let us live as simply as he lived, exemplified by his pine coffin with rope handles. Let those of us who have resources pull in our belts that others can eat enough to fill their stomachs.

“Let us reorder our society to end inequality and create equal opportunities for all.

“Why don’t we rename Cape Town International Airport the Desmond Mpilo Tutu International Airport?” he asked.

The airport has been at the centre of a heated debate over several years.

Communities, activists and political and social groups have suggested different names for the airport.

Speaking at the funeral service of anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, EFF leader Julius Malema called for the airport to be named after her.

In 2019 the red berets brought the idea before parliament, where it was rejected. ANC MPs, led by then chief whip Jackson Mthembu, argued that the motion on the renaming of the Cape Town airport was misplaced as parliament had no legislative authority on name changes.

The renaming process was reportedly cancelled earlier this year after public consultation apparently drew no consensus.

However, Makgoba’s calls seem to have gained some traction online, with many supporting the renaming of the airport to honour Tutu. A petition with the call was started on Monday morning.

Some said there are other ways to remember Tutu and he should have another building named after him.


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