Northern Cape Provincial Government is set rename the Kimberley Hospital into Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital on Monday, 24 September 2018. The renaming will form part of 2018 Provincial Heritage Day commemoration. It will be held at the Kimberley Hospital premises and will be marked under the theme "The Year of Nelson Mandela: Advancing Transformation of South Africa's Heritage Landscape". Premier Ms. Sylvia Lucas is scheduled to deliver a keynote address. She will be accompanied by MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture Ms. Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba and the MEC for Health Ms. Fufe Makatong together with other Members of Executive Council.

The renaming of Kimberley Hospital to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital comes after months of consultation between the Sobukwe Family Trust, PAC and other stakeholders. 

Mr. Dini Sobukwe, the eldest son of the late Robert Sobukwe has described the initiative as an honour to the family. "Well as a family it's a great honour that this complex is going to be named after him, it's a great honour to the family, especially that it's a place where he was supposed to have been isolated. He got to love the place  very very much and he got to be loved by the community of Kimberley. We are very grateful as a family it's a great honour".

Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe was a founder of the Pan Africanist Congress, PAC in opposition to the South African apartheid system. He was born in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape Province on the 5 December 1924.

He joined the ANC Youth Leagues in 1948 and became prominent in 1952 for backing the Defiance Campaign. He identified with the Africanists within the African National Congress (ANC) and in 1957 left the ANC to become Editor of The Africanist  newspaper in Johannesburg.

On 21 March 1960, Sobukwe led a PAC nationwide protest against the hated Pass Law which required black people to carry a pass book at all times.

In a similar protest on the same day in Sharpeville, police opened fire on a crowd of PAC supporters, killing 69 in the Sharpeville Massacre. He was arrested and kept in solitary confinement in Robben Island where he was considered more radical and difficult to deal with.

Upon his release from prison Sobukwe was banished to Kimberley in the Northern Cape where he remained under house arrest. He however completed his law degree with the help of a local lawyer, in Galeshewe, and he then started his own practice in 1975 in Kimberley.

On 27 February 1978 Sobukwe died from lung complications at Kimberley Hospital.

We must realize that name changes are important for us as South Africans to reclaim our heritage and cultural identity , as well as honouring our heroes and heroines who fought the liberation of this country which we are all enjoying today. 
 As South Africans we must be reminded of the fact that geographical name changes are a form of symbolic compensation for human rights abuse. 
In a fractured society changing names can also be considered as a mechanism of transitional justice. As a form of symbolic reparation street names can assist in restoring dignity and public recognition to victims.
The Geographical Names Act of 1998 is not only a law of this country but an essential part of transformation. It is a legislative process intended to redress historical imbalances and thus contribute towards eradicating a history filled with oppression and forge, instead, a national identity to which all South Africans can ascribe.
Change is inevitable and if we want to grow as both individuals and as a nation, we must accept that we need to change 
It is against this background that as part of honoring the legacy of Robert Sobukwe as the Provincial Government of the Northern Cape we are renaming the Kimberley Hospital after this iconic leader and giant of the apartheid struggle.

Members of the media are invited to provide coverage to the renaming of Kimberley Hospital to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe during an event to be held as follows:

Date: Monday, 24 September 2018.
Time: 09:00
Venue: Kimberley Hospital
Keynote Speaker: Premier Ms. S Lucas.


Issued by: Communications Unit
Northern Cape Sport, Arts and Culture Department
053 807 4700

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