In Africa the Road to Renaming Does Not Run Smooth
So one could hardly blame Durban’s thoroughly postcolonial leaders for wanting to redress this imbalance, and give some of the area’s byways and landmarks names honoring the architects of democratic South Africa. And perhaps nobody would have, had matters stopped there.
But they did not. And so the renaming of Durban’s landmarks has become a political brouhaha of the first order, and an object lesson in the pitfalls of building South African democracy.
On May 1, at least 6,000 marchers paraded through the city’s downtown, protesting local proposals to bestow new names on as many as 180 major streets and buildings. Black and white, stick-wielding and peaceful, the demonstrators massed at city hall to complain — not about the idea of renaming landmarks, but about the new names themselves.
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