The Ekurhuleni Metro Council wants to change the name of the Johannesburg International Airport to the Oliver Tambo International Airport. Tambo lived for some time in Watville in Benoni, Ekurhuleni, and is buried in Watville township. The matter was discussed at a Council meeting yesterday and it was decided to go ahead. Of course, the Metro is not empowered to take this decision themselves, what it means is that now they will submit a proposal to national government, and if government agrees, I think the next step would be to take the issue to the Geographical Names Council and public input will also be included. According to the Democratic Alliance (DA) the impetus for the name change comes from the ANC so I'm fairly confident that government would support the name change. It goes without saying that the DA does not support the idea of renaming our biggest airport.
"The DA believes this is a bad idea.The current name is neither hurtful nor offensive and is already an established part of the International marketing of the region and the province. It is extremely doubtful that the proposed new name will enjoy the support of the community where it is located. A large number of South Africans do not regard Mr. Tambo has having advanced anything other than ANC sectarian interests and from this point of view the proposal is likely to divide the community and undermine the interests of a united nation.
When the name of the airport was changed from Jan Smuts International it was argued that structures and features should not be named after politicians. This is an entirely acceptable argument in the context of reconciliation and it would be a pity if it were turned on its head in a fit of ANC triumphalism."
Mzansi Afrika thinks that the DA argument is bullshit. How on earth can the DA imply that naming something after Oliver Tambo who led the struggle from democracy from outside South Africa, and without whom arguably there would be no democracy, can be hurtful and offensive. I like the idea of naming the airport after Oliver Tambo, I think it would be something that we can take pride in and his memory deserves to be honoured in such a way.