‘The decision to become Nelson Mandela University is not simply an exercise in corporate re-branding.  It is a statement of intent. It is a statement of values. It is a validation of the struggles of our people against colonial occupation and apartheid oppression. It is an affirmation of their history and identity, of their dignity and rights.’

It is against the backdrop of these words by President Cyril Ramaphosa in a speech that captured the full weight of both the honour and responsibility of carrying the Mandela name at the launch of the university’s new name in July 2017 that Nelson Mandela University’s Student Representative Council (SRC) began its own discussions around the university’s identity.

These discussions evolved and spread, particularly among students living in on-campus residences. They too wished to be associated with names of which they could be proud, be inspired and to which they could relate in line with the ethos and values of Mandela.

And so began a series of engagements across all Port Elizabeth residences in 2018 led by the SRC to debate, discuss and agree on names that resonated with the Mandela identity as part of what has become an institution-wide naming and renaming project.

Formal launch of Naming Project
On Monday, 27 May, this project – although already underway in many sectors of the university – will be formally launched by Vice-Chancellor Professor Sibongile Muthwa at the Indoor Sports Centre.

It will also celebrate those whose names have been selected for eight student residences on North, South and Second Avenue campuses, in the presence of family members and trustees who have given their permission and blessing for these names to be used.

These are names that emphasise our African identity and Eastern Cape roots, the need to redress the past and build towards on a better future.

Residence names

They include the likes of the Eastern Cape’s Sarah Baartman, whose resilience paints a painful picture of how women have been marginalised, and Lillian Ngoyi, who led the 9 August 1956 women’s march to Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the apartheid government’s pass laws.

It also includes revolutionary Solomon Mahlangu, who sacrificed his life for the total liberation of this country; Charlotte Maxeke, a deeply religious social worker and political activist and Hector Pieterson, whose name and tragic death is synonymous with the 1976 Soweto uprising against the compulsory use of Afrikaans.

It also includes the names of two former Mandela University students, Yolanda Guma and Claude Qavane, who were both instrumental in shaping the university during their short lives.

For a comprehensive understanding of the names chosen, please go to https://naming.mandela.ac.za/

The website also offer guidance on how to initiate your division’s own naming or renaming process, or simply to have your say on buildings, spaces and places of importance to you.

Naming and Renaming Working Group

Contact information
Naming & Renaming Project
Tel: 041 504 2508