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Johannesburg - The Star newspaper is no longer in Sauer Street - but it hasn’t moved. On Thursday, the Gauteng government changed the street name.
“We can confirm that we are proceeding with the renaming of Sauer Street and from now henceforth the street shall be known as Pixley ka Isaka Seme Street,” said Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Lebogang Maile.
The street runs south to north through the Joburg CBD. Across the street from The Star is the ANC’s headquarters, Chief Albert Luthuli House. The head offices of the provincial departments of health and housing are also in the street.
Seme was a founder member and former president of the ANC.
“In 1911, Pixley ka Isaka Seme called on Africans to forget the differences of the past and unite together in one national organisation. He said: ‘We are one people. These divisions, these jealousies, are the cause of all our woes today’,” said the ANC on its website. The ANC was founded the following year.
Seme was born in the then Natal, studied at Columbia University in the US and Oxford University in England, and qualified as a lawyer, according to SA History Online. He helped found the newspaper Abantu-Batho and was ANC president from 1930 to 1936. “Seme’s memorable speech at Columbia University in 1906 earned him the Order of Luthuli in Gold in 2006, conferred by then president Thabo Mbeki,” says SA History Online.
Seme died in 1951.
Commissioner Street, which crosses Sauer Street and runs east to west through downtown Joburg, is also up for renaming.