The Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, has praised
official efforts to rename Höerskool HF Verwoerd, in Tshwane, to Rietodale
Lesufi, a controversial figure in his own right, has made it his mission to undo the ‘damage done to the education system by the apartheid regime’. His vendetta against schools which cater, almost exclusively, to Afrikaans-speaking South Africans has made him a polarising political figure.
Panyaza Lesufi and the ‘mission to rename’
Today, we formally approved the renaming of Höerskool HF Verwoerd to Rietodale Secondary School. My mission in this world is to reverse everything this man called Verwoerd has done to our education system. Others names like Jan Smuts will also fall #NomoreHöerskoolHFVerwoerd pic.twitter.com/pUdoq3KkQJ
— Panyaza Lesufi (@Lesufi) May 20, 2019
Naturally, Afrikaners feel as though they are being victimised – complaining of state-endorsed cultural degradation – while others see the move as a progressive step towards a more inclusive South Africa.
The MEC took to Twitter on Monday evening to announce his
latest ‘victory’. Höerskool HF Verwoerd, which was founded in 1937, will be
known as Rietodale Secondary School. According to Lesufi, the school, which was
formerly named after the ‘Architect of Apartheid’, Hendrik Verwoerd, served as ground
zero for other impending changes.
Lesufi released a statement, complete with official documentation, revealing that the aforementioned name change had been officially approved by his department, saying:
“Today, we formally approved the renaming of Höerskool HF Verwoerd to Rietodale Secondary School.
My mission in this world is to reverse everything this man called Verwoerd has done to our education system.”
Lesufi promises more names will fall
Lesufi, who was appointed MEC for Education in the Gauteng
Province in 2014, promised to further his undertaking by renaming other
educational institutions titled after both apartheid and colonial-era leaders.
The MEC warned:
“Others names like Jan Smuts will also fall.”
New clauses, introduced by Lesufi ahead of the 2020 academic
year, have redefined feeder zones and the administration of admissions. The purpose
of these new regulations, according to the MEC, is to create a more inclusive
educational environment – one which promotes “social cohesion and non-racialism”.
Defining his prerogative, Lesufi explained:
“You can’t say our school is an Afrikaans-only speaking when there are people closer to you who do not speak Afrikaans but have to access that school as well.
This notion that mother tongue language must own a school alone is very wrong.”