Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Drive


One of the busiest main roads connecting greater Sandton may be renamed to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Drive, if residents of Johannesburg approve.


  • The public have 28-days to respond to the proposed name change, as of 24 March 2021.
  • William Nicol lived between 1887 and 1967.
  • Winnie Madikizela-Mandela lived between 1936 and 2018.
  • Visit for more stories.


A public consultative drive to have William Nicol motorway renamed to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Drive is underway, with a call for comments or representations from interested and affected people or parties. Named after a Dutch Reformed minister, theologian, educator and Administrator of the then Transvaal Province, William Nicol, stretches from Hyde Park on Jan Smuts Avenue until Summit road near Diepsloot in the north.


Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s former wife, was nicknamed the ‘mother of the nation’ and was a resident of Johannesburg since 1952 when she moved to the city from her birthplace in the then Transkei.

As the City, we wanted to pay our respects and officially launch the start of the public participation process to rename William Nicol Drive after a motion of Council was passed a year and a half ago in order to honour Mama Winnie.

// Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Cllr Geoffrey Makhubo


Earlier this year, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced a number of changes for towns, cities and airports in the Eastern Cape, most notably the change of Port Elizabeth, which is now known as Gqeberha. The Port Elizabeth International Airport is now known as the Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport. East London Airport is now the King Phalo Airport. Uitenhage is now Kariega. King William’s Town is now Qonce. Maclear is now Nqanqa Rhu.


The South African Geographical Names Act provides for objections within 30 days from members of the public in instances that they are not happy with the Gazette name changes.


Yet nothing trumps execution. 15-years after changing names from Johannesburg International Airport to O. R. Tambo International Airport, the biggest and busiest airport in Africa, renamed in 2006 after one of South Africa’s most prominent liberation leaders, visitors will still be left asking for directions, as two prominent street-signs in greater Sandton still point to the old airport name.


Johannesburg International Airport to O. R. Tambo International Airport


Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Geoffrey Makhubo believes the renaming of one of the City’s iconic thoroughfares to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Drive is a result of the Council’s acknowledgement of “Mama Winnie’s” immeasurable commitment to the struggle for humanity and for liberating South Africa.


Those wanting to make comment with regards to the renaming to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Drive, may do so by submitting their comments in writing to the Community Development: ACH, before 21 April 2021.


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