The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has stripped Leopold Takawira of the honour of having one of its major roads named after him, after renaming it to King Mzilikazi Road.
King Mzilikazi was the founder of the Ndebele nation.
The wide road leading to South Africa past the Centenary Park and Ascot mansions – originally known by its colonial name, Selbourne Avenue – had been renamed Leopold Takawira Avenue, after the former deputy president of ZANU who rebelled from Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU in 1963, during the early years of colonialism resistance.
Bulawayo councillors have also resolved that all Avenues in the CBD will maintain their numbering format from 1st Avenue to 15th Avenue, defying a government directive last year to rename 6th Avenue to Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Way.
King Mzilikazi Road will, therefore, start from Samuel Parirenyatwa Road, ending at the Umguza River Bridge. The remainder of that road leading up to the Tredgold Magistrates Court will be 7th Avenue.
Defying the government directive, the councillors have, instead, resolved to rename George Avenue – which runs from Harare Road to Old Gwanda Road past Holiday Inn hotel – after Mnangagwa.
A motion to adopt the name changes, tabled by Ward 17 councillor Sikhululekile Moyo, before being adopted by the full council, said in part: “It is desirable to preserve the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial history and heritage of the local people of Bulawayo and promote national cohesion, healing, peace and tranquillity in a devolved unitary state.”
Apart from renaming some of its roads, the BCC is also correcting some street and road names. Lobengula Street will now become King Lobengula Street; Moffat Road in Hillside suburb is to be known as Robert Moffat Drive while Leander Road in Hillside will carry the full name of Dr Leander Star Jameson Road.
Cecil Avenue, which runs from Harare road past the National University of Science and Technology past Matopos Road all the way up to Morningside suburb where it ends at the intersection of Ullswater Drive and Wellington Road, will now be known as Cecil John Roads Avenue.
Coghlan Avenue in Kumalo is being corrected to Charles Patrick Coghlan Avenue.
The BCC has also announced name changes to honour some of the country’s liberation heroes and heroines.
Nketa Drive will now be known as Queen Lozikheyi Dlodlo Drive, after the Ndebele matriarch who was one of the wives of King Lobhengula.
Athlone Avenue is changing to Simon Vengai Muzenda Road and 23rd Avenue is to become Landa John Nkomo Road in honour of the two late former vice presidents.
Also honoured is independence war hero Nikita Mangena, who will have Fife Street being renamed Nikita Mangena Street. Fort Street is to be known as Lookout Masuku Street, immortalising the former ZIPRA commander.
Basch Street is being renamed Dumiso Dabengwa Road, in honour of the former ZIPRA commander who died last year.
Old Khami Road is now Sydney Malunga Road, a tribute to the late relentless campaigner against the marginalisation of the Matabeleland region.
Other Street/Road Name Changes
Lady Stanley Avenue to Mama Joanna Mafuyana Avenue
Steeldale Road and Anthony Tylor Road to Albert Nxele Road
Dunde Drive to Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu Drive
Waverley Road to Jairos Jiri Road
Fairbridge Road to Erick Bloch Way
Hillside Road to Sir Garfield Todd Road
Van Riebeck Road to Joseph Msika Drive
Connaught Avenue to Cephas Cele Avenue
Collenbrander Road to Daniel Madzimbamuto Road
Manchester Road to George Nyandoro Road
Vera Road to Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu Road
Birkenhead Road to Sikanjaya Muntanga Road
Doncaster Road to Maria Msika Road
Landmark Name Changes
Pelandaba Clinic is to be renamed Thenjiwe Lesabe Clinic
Stanley Hall in Makokoba has been renamed Liberation Legacy Square