Sat, 11 Jul 2020

Nelson Mandela University (NMU) will be unveiling new names for eight of its student residences on Monday, the institution has said.

This is part of the institution's naming and renaming project which flows from the launch of the university's new name and identity in 2017. The institution was previously called Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan University (NMMU).

"Among those honoured are two former Mandela University students, Yolanda Guma and Claude Qavane, who both contributed to shaping the university during their short lives," said NMU spokesperson Zandile Mbabela.

Guma died in a car crash in 2015 and Qavane died in 2002.

Mbabela said Sarah Baartman, Lillian Ngoyi, Charlotte Maxeke, Solomon Mahlangu, Sol Plaatjie and Hector Pieterson will also be recognised, with permission and blessings having been given by their families and trustees.

"The university name change in 2017 provided an enabling environment and an opportunity to pro-actively build social cohesion and contribute to the transformation and decolonising project at the university," said Mbabela.

She said the renaming of the institution then gave an opportunity to revisit the names of physical infrastructure, existing buildings, streets, campuses and other components of the university.

The university's Arts, Culture and Heritage director, Michael Barry, said a university named after Madiba should also consist of buildings that carried the names that resemble what he and leaders of his kind stood for.

"Buildings are an important aspect of a university. It is where teaching and learning content is produced and where the institutional culture gets its legitimacy to navigate the movement and thinking of human beings interacting with it daily.

"Therefore, such property cannot carry empty names like 'Building 35, Xanadu' which possess nothing significant about the context of Nelson Mandela and the general climate of higher education in South Africa in the present," he said.

The project is anticipated to run for the next few years across all university campuses and also affords the institution an opportunity to build and enhance the intellectual identity of NMU, said Mbabela.

"This process is guided by the new Naming and Renaming Policy, which is reflective of the need to build cohesion in the wake of issues raised during the #MustFall movements, and speaks to who and what Mandela University is becoming and should be," she said.

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