Pretoria - Learners at Rietondale High School, formerly known as Hoerskoool Hendrik Verwoerd, celebrated the change of the name and marked a new era.

The school choir sang songs of praise as they rejoiced and celebrated the new name. 

Hendrik Verwoerd who the school was named after is considered the "architect of Apartheid".

Rietondale was chosen by teachers at a teachers meeting in 2018.

MEC for Gauteng Education and Youth Development, Panyaza Lesufi and said we are not here to destroy a culture but we are here to build a bright future.

"We don't hate Hendrik Verwoerd school, we just don't want to be reminded of the past."

He said that he is not "anti-Afrikaans" but he is anti-discrimination.

He stressed that the school are confirming and reclaiming their dignity.

He also said that he has been getting insults on Twitter for believing in non-racialism. 

Raphael Rato who is a Grade 11 learner at Rietondale said that although the name was part of their heritage he thinks the new name will bring unity to the school. 

"I still hope we remain "woeries" even with the new name" he said.

Principal Debra Bam says that she is excited about the school's future and that its definitely time for change. 

She said that everyone agreed that a name change was necessary.  

"Gone is the past, we are embracing the future and we are elated. The school is representing a new South Africa" she said.

Pretoria News