Joburg considers renaming William Nicol Drive in honour of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

The late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Image credit: Twitter/MyANC

The City of Johannesburg is considering renaming William Nicol Drive in honour of the late ANC struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

In a Twitter announcement on Wednesday (24 March), the City invited the public to make comments on the proposed renaming.


“Notice is hereby given that the City of Johannesburg is considering renaming William Nicol Drive to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Drive,” it announced.

“Comments or representations are hereby invited from interested and affected people or parties. Particulars of the proposed renaming will be available for inspection during normal office hours at Arts and Culture Heritage Office, 2 Helen Joseph Street, Joburg Newtown Building, 2nd Floor, Newtown, 2001.”

William Nicol Drive was named after a Dutch-Reformed minister who also served as Transvaal administrator. Madikizela-Mandela, who was also the former wife of the late President Nelson Mandela, passed away in 2018.

The City invited members of the public to submit their comments in writing to Community Development: ACH within 28 days of the publication of the notice.

Inquiries can be directed to Dominica Masalesa, email address or Willy Lekoloane, email address

Over a year in the making

In September 2020, Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo said a council meeting had already agreed to start the renaming process more than a year ago.

“We have officially launched the start of [a] public participation process to rename William Nicol [Drive] after a motion of council was passed a year and a half ago,” he said at the time.

“[This is] in order to honour Winnie Mandela and ensure that, with time, William Nicol will be renamed after her. The names will be finalised with the family as soon as the necessary processes are concluded.”

In February, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced several name changes in the Eastern Cape, including the renaming of Port Elizabeth to Gqeberha.

Mthethwa said, “There was a need for the name changes as this is part of a government programme to transform South Africa’s heritage landscape. The names of places we live in reflect the identity and cultural heritage of the people of South Africa.”

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