by Andile Sicetsha
A cheerful Panyaza Lesufi officiated the renaming of Hoerskool Hendrik Verwoerd, on Friday. In his efforts to destabilise the apartheid legacy, the Gauteng Education MEC led the ceremony which verified the switch to Rietondale High School.
Panyaza has never held his tongue back about his objective, in the provincial Education portfolio. He’s made it clear a number of times that in his term, he will effectively destabilise all remnants of the apartheid legacy from the fabric of our education system.
Why Rietondale High School?
The decision to rename the school was not autonomously made by Lesufi. He involved the school’s governing body, the pupils, as well as the parents.
The message from the Gauteng Education Department was clear, there could no longer be a school with a name that bears the mark of apartheid, let alone that of the person who is deemed credited as the architect of the oppressive system.
A two-year consultation process and further engagements with stakeholders in government led to the moment when Lesufi, on Friday, stood before the school premises to present its new name — Rietondale High School.
Lesufi’s quest continues
Lesufi is not done yet. The announcement of the school’s new name occurred just days after the University of South Africa (Unisa) revealed that it had taken the decision to rename three of its buildings at its Muckleneuk Campus, in Pretoria.
The three buildings, Theo van Wijk, AJH van der Walt and Samuel Pauw, have since been renamed after Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Professor Nkoana Simon Radipere and Anton Lembede, respectively.
“New symbols and names signify both resolve and intent to right wrongs of the past, and to build a future that embraces and celebrates the rich heritage of our country.
“The naming and renaming of any university facility or property is a concrete demonstration of commitment to the university’s vision, mission and values,” Unisa Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mandla Makhanya said.