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Street names across Jozi finalised
03 August 2007

Activists and freedom fighters will be remembered in street names across the city, following a council decision to rename a street in Newclare and name streets in Mayibuye, Far East Bank and Klipfontein.

The curb-side name will soon be changed
The curb-side name will soon be changed

R

AHIMA MOOSA, the late freedom fighter, trade unionist and stalwart of the liberation struggle, will have a Newclare street named after her. The City council approved the changing of Mayor Avenue to Rahima Moosa Avenue, and the naming of several streets in Mayibuye, Far East Bank and Klipfontein in Region E on Thursday, 26 July.

Famous for leading the Women's March in Pretoria on 9 August 1956 against the pass laws - together with Helen Joseph, Sophy Williams and Lilian Ngoyi - Moosa played a great role in improving the quality of life of all South Africans. She lived in Mayor Avenue until her death in 1993.

The council decision to rename Mayor Avenue was taken after public consultation involving newspaper advertisements, public meetings and letters sent to households. Ads were placed in various newspapers in March calling for comment from Newclare residents and other interested parties, according to Peter Monyuku, an official at the People's Centre in Region B.

On Tuesday, 15 May, a meeting was held in Newclare for oral submissions from residents. It was attended by Ward 82 councillor, Sophie Williams-de Bruyn; the regional director of Region B Vusumuzi Mavuso; and ward committee members. Williams-de Bruyn, who proposed the renaming of Mayor Avenue, also sent letters to individual households regarding the proposal, as well as the choice of Rahima Moosa for the new name.

"Erection of street signs will start any time, as soon as the Johannesburg Roads Agency has gone through all the necessary steps to change the street name," Monyuku says.

Born in the Strand in Cape Town in October 1922, Moosa became politically active at a young age. In 1943, she became the shop steward for the Canning Workers' Union and later was elected the union's branch secretary. She joined the South African Communist Party and became vocal on the plight of women workers, particular African women.

Moosa moved to Johannesburg and stayed in Mayor Avenue, Newclare, after she married Dr Hassan Mohammed Moosa, a fellow comrade and Treason trialist. In 1955, she helped to organise the Congress for the People in Kliptown, where the Freedom Charter was adopted. In 1956, she helped to organise and spearhead the historic Women's March to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where women handed over petitions against the pass laws.

The council has also approved street naming in Mayibuye, Klipfontein and the Far-East Bank in Region E. The three areas are characterised by a number of new housing developments, where streets are not yet named.

Struggle stalwart Rahima Moosa will have this Newclare street named after her
Struggle stalwart Rahima Moosa will have this Newclare street named after her

Given the general problems identified by emergency services and the police when trying to find most of the houses, the three communities made an urgent appeal to the region requesting that street names be prioritised.

Residents also registered a number of concerns relating to the lack of street names - lack of access to basic services such as telephones and postal amenities; people being unable to open bank accounts because they don't have residential addresses; and elderly residents having difficulties in registering for social grants.

Deciding on the names for streets was a comprehensive process that involved briefing the Alexandra Development Forum, meetings with community leaders, radio interviews, community meetings, and meetings with community leaders. Names of animals, trees, birds, countries, towns and individuals were selected.

Choosing street names in Mayibuye was motivated by the desire to honour civic leaders and activists in the community. Streets will be named after the late Theresa Matshaba, a member of the defiance campaigns committee during the apartheid regime; the late Bulelwa Makomane, an ANC Women's League executive committee member; and the late Veronica Mlobeli, an activist in the struggle against apartheid.

Prominent activists and civic leaders whose names will be lent to streets in Klipfontein are Gideon Ramabuwane, Nancy Ndamase and Vincent Tshabalala. The Far East Bank will also have some streets named after political activists, like Vusi Thabethe, Walter Masemola, Andrew Radebe, Onica Mashego and Florence Mophosho, among others.

According to a report from the department of development planning and urban management, registering and marking the street names will cost about R350 000.

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