By: Staff Writer
THE University of Cape Town (UCT) has called on staff‚ students and alumni to suggest new names for landmark buildings and spaces on its campuses.
Vice-chancellor Max Price said on Wednesday the debate on names was sparked by last year’s #RhodesMustFall campaign for the removal of a statue of Cecil John Rhodes. A task team was then set up under Dr Maanda Mulaudzi of the Department of Historical Studies.
The first building to be renamed is the central Jameson Memorial Hall on upper campus.
"The significance of this building‚ combined with the controversial reputation of Sir Leander Starr Jameson after whom it is named‚ makes this an appropriate first building to be considered‚" said Dr Price.
"The task team is now inviting submissions on this by April 15 and will consider the renaming of Jameson Hall as a priority, with the intention of making a recommendation to the naming of buildings committee and then to council in June."
Other buildings in line for new names are Smuts Hall‚ Beattie Building‚ Wernher Beit Building and the Otto Beit Building. The deadline for submissions on these is May 30.
"You are also invited to submit the names of other buildings or spaces that you wish the task team to consider. These will then be publicised for consultation in the third cycle after June but the names should be submitted by May 30‚" Dr Price told staff‚ students and alumni of UCT.
"We think it crucial that as many people as possible participate‚ as this will enable a diversity of views leading to name changes that will give our campus an inclusive and diverse character and symbolise the living democracy we strive for.
"In offering your views‚ the first task is to identify and remove names of people whom we think the university should not be honouring or revering. The second is to propose new names honouring other individuals for their historic role in the university or in broader society. There is also a view that we should rather name buildings to signify ideas and values that we would like to see UCT represent and strive for," said Dr Price.
He said the renaming process was historic. "It is a change that will not just linger in the name boards on the side of buildings but should be a definitive break with a past that we are not all part of and an opening to a future that is much more inclusive and respectful of our different histories‚ cultures and aspirations.
"It is symbolic of a transformation not only on our campus‚ but more importantly of our attitudes and values."
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