The City of Johannesburg will honour the struggle leader Zeph Mothopeng with the official re-naming of Pela Street, close to the famous Vilakazi Precinct in Soweto, during a ceremony to be held on the 22 October 2016.
Mothopeng’s political activism spanned a turbulent half–century of resistance to white supremacy, from the early 1940s until his death in 1990. A leader of the Pan Africanist Congress, Mothopeng (1913-1990) is also remembered as a teacher, intellectual and choir-master.
The renaming is in line with the City of Johannesburg’s Policy on the Naming and Renaming of Streets and Other Public Places. The policy streamlines the process of naming and renaming of streets, parks and municipal buildings. In scope, the policy covers the (a) naming of unnamed features, (b) renaming of currently named features, (c) naming as part of township establishment.
The event, led by the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development, Cllr. Nonhlanhla Sifumba together with the Mothopeng family, will open with the official launch of Zeph Mothopeng Street, close to the Mothopeng family house.
Much of Mothopeng’s political and personal life centered around his home in Orlando West, which he shared with his wife Urbania, in an area which became a hot-bed of struggle.
The newly-renamed Zephania Mothopeng Street links with the Hector Pieterson Precinct, and to the Holy Cross Anglican Church, which the Mothopengs attended and where both were active in the church choir, with Mr Mothopeng as conductor.
Zephania and his wife and one of the sons had their funeral services at the same church opposite the Hector Pieterson Monument and Museum.
The date identified for the event, Saturday 22 October 2016, is of significance, as it will be on the eve of the anniversary of the day of his death (23 October 1990).
Following on from the re-naming ceremony, guests will attend a lecture at Uncle Tom’s Hall, located alongside the Hector Pieterson Museum. The memorial lecture on the life and legacy of Mr Zephania Mothopeng will be delivered by Prof. Sipho Shabalala, a veteran of the liberation struggle in his own right and an economist and retired lecturer.
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