Visitors to the Apartheid museum view a temporary exhibition on Nelson Mandela. Photo: Jerome Delay

Johannesburg - Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation Molebatsi Bopape has vowed to pay for the travelling expenses of all schools in the province to the Apartheid Museum.

She made the announcement during the presentation of her maiden portfolio budget vote in the Gauteng legislature on Thursday, emphasising that the visits would enable the pupils to be more aware of their past, like “every Jewish child” in the world.

“In this regard, sponsored school trips to the Apartheid Museum and all other museums in the province will play a meaningful role. I appeal to parents to spend valuable time with their children to undertake visits to these museums.

“As most will know, every child of Jewish extraction is taught about the horrors of the holocaust. Therefore we owe it to future generations that the horrors of apartheid are known and should never be repeated. This we should never, ever be apologetic about.”

According to Bopape, regular visits by schoolchildren - especially when accompanied by their parents - would make them aware of the horrors of apartheid.

Bopape reiterated that it was the duty of all parents in Gauteng to accompany their children to visit the Apartheid Museum at least once in their lifetime.

While her budget speech, unlike other MECs, was widely supported, Bopape looks set to engage herself in a fight with those opposed to street-name changes, particularly in Tshwane.

She also announced her department had finalised a provincial Geographic Naming Systems framework.

“This is aimed at ensuing that while provincial and local geographical names should reflect our history, we must also minimise unnecessary acrimonious and sometimes costly processes in pursuit of this noble objective.”

She said by March all metropolitan, district and local councils would have established geographical committees in line with the SA Geographical Names Council.

“I take this opportunity to appeal to municipalities to exercise extreme sensitivity and to ensure that correct spelling is adhered to when putting up names of streets, buildings and other entities.

“In this regard, I refer to those which bear indigenous names. It must never be accepted that Thokoza in Ekurhuleni is still spelt without an H after the (letter) T and, similarly, Themba in Hammanskraal (Tshwane) is also spelt without an H,” she said.

Bopape said it was disheartening “to millions of our people to see misspelling of indigenous names which are engraved on public entities 20 years into our liberation”.

As she emphasised the need of nation-building in the province, Bopape singled out the names of women with strong ANC links to be honoured during the August 9 Women’s Day celebrations.

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The Star