Port Elizabeth - The Khoisan community of Nelson Mandela Bay have called for Port Elizabeth International Airport to be renamed the David Stuurman International Airport after the prominent indigenous leader.
Khoisan tribes gathered outside the South End Museum in PE on Wednesday and walked to the Port Elizabeth airport to hand over a memorandum to The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) management.
The deadline for proposals on renaming several airports is midnight on Wednesday. ACSA has called for proposals on renaming four airports, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, East London and Kimberley.
Speaking before embarking on their walk, Prophet Crawford Fraser said Chief David Stuurman was a prominent leader of the Eastern Cape and played a key role in the Khoi rebellion between 1799 and 1803.
Fraser said that Stuurman was one of the first political prisoners sent to Robben Island and was a symbol of the struggle endured by the Khoisan people.
Fraser said that the Khoisan community in Nelson Mandela Bay already sent a request to government four years ago that the airport be renamed in honour of Stuurman.
"Chief David Stuurman was lured into Australia by false pretence. He was requested to come to Australia and they lied to him, they told him that his wife and children were waiting for him there. But the reason they transported him from PE to Australia is because colonialism did not want Chief David Stuurman on the soil of Africa."
Stuurman's mortal remains still lies in Australia and could not be repatriated to South Africa.
"He was a man that fought for the freedom and liberation of the people that was found here. We, as the descendants of the Khoisan in Nelson Mandela Bay, the name Chief David Stuurman is our first choice," said Fraser.
African News Agency/ANA