Pretoria - Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, has commended official efforts to rename Höerskool Hendrik Verwoerd to Rietondale Secondary School as the name is deemed as oppressive.
Lesufi took to twitter and said: “My mission in this world is to reverse everything this man called Verwoerd has done to our education system. Other names like Jan Smuts will also fall,”
The name-changing process at the school started in 2016 and parents of pupils at the school voted in favour of a new name in 2018.
The school's governing body (SGB) chairperson, Olga Veldsman said the school and parents avoided choosing a name that would appear as political driven.
“The name Rietondale Secondary School managed to score many voters opposed to Deerness High School and Aloe High School, among the names that were proposed in the name-changing process.”
Veldsman mentioned that the name-changing process was prolonged because the former principal of the school had already taken the decision to retire.
Therefore, as the school they wanted to be inclusive of the principal's successor .
“It is time for a change, it has been a long time coming and I think it will be like a breath of fresh air.
"Everybody is very positive and excited about the process and the name change,” Veldsman said.
Gauteng Education spokesperson Steve Mabona emphasised that as the department they are not targeting any Afrikaans schools but the school community is the one who holds the responsibility of raising their concerns and what changes they would like to see.
“As the department we advocate for social cohesion, we do not want Afrikaans schools to feel victimised as some will start complaining that we as the department are endorsing incultural degradation but everyone should perceive this move as a progressive step towards a more inclusive South Africa,” Mabona said.