Street names to honour former residents

Richmond Park.

The Richmond Park Communal Property Association (RPCPA) is applying to the City to have several streets in a restitution development named after those who fought for justice on behalf of victims of apartheid forced removals.

Many of the shareholders in the Richmond Business Park development were kicked off the land in the 1970s and 1980s and later compensated with shares in the R1 billion property development as part of their land claim settlement.

Planning Partners, an urban design and planning firm, submitted a petition on behalf of the RPCPA, to Sub-council 7 proposing street names for the development: Hendrina Olifant Drive, Lionel Solomons Boulevard, Aubrey Wicomb Avenue and Lenie Adams Crescent as well as alternative suggestions: Henna Dolf Drive, Meester Wicomb Boulevard, Lawrence Avenue and Juf Brink Crescent.

They, among others, were forcibly removed between 1972 and 1986 when the area was declared a white area (“Richmond Park land claims finalised after 16 years,” Tabletalk June 15, 2011), and they were among those who lodged the initial land claim in 1996.

RPCPA chairman Rudi Adams said they wanted to honour the legacy of those who had fought so hard for restitution.

The plan hit a snag when it emerged certain recommendations did not meet the City’s street naming and numbering policy, which notes that streets should not be named after people who have been dead for less than five years.

This put the recommendation for Lionel Solomons, Aubrey Wicomb and Lenie Adams in jeopardy. However, Planning Partners lodged an objection on behalf of the RPCPA, arguing for the policy to be relaxed in light of the circumstances surrounding the application.

“The Richmond Park community who owns the property consists of 401 members who were forcefully disposed of their land by the apartheid regime and relocated to Atlantis against their will,” noted Planning Partners director Geoff Underwood in email correspondence before sub-council.

“The wishes of the community should be respected. The names of those honoured must be understood in the context of the restitution process. These names do not have political connotations but reflect strongly felt community sentiments.” According to Mr Adams, Henna Dolf, was formally known as Johanna Adams. Her family and community had called her Ma-Hanna or Henna Dolf.

She was a midwife who helped to deliver several babies in the community. She had 13 children of her own and cared for several who had been abandoned.

Juf Brink or “Juffrou” Brink was a teacher at Richmond Park.

She was a memorable and honoured member of the community.

The RPCAP is awaiting approval of the street names, which needs to go to the City’s naming committee for a recommendation and to the mayor for final approval.

Tabletalk sent questions to the City, but did not get a response by the time this edition went to print.