Names have meaning and it is the role of a university to question the extent to which we continue to embrace and uphold names, symbols and imagery. The act of naming also offers an opportunity to think deeply about what the university represents and how we can reinforce the values that it upholds through a naming or re-naming process.
The renaming of Jameson Hall to Sarah Baartman was a moment in which the university could recognise the multifaceted struggles and resilience of South African women. Following from this, the Naming of Buildings Committee (NoBC) is now calling for further proposals for the historic precinct at the heart of our Upper Campus:
The steps and plaza in from of Sarah Baartman Hall (currently Jameson Plaza). This part of our campus has been a gathering place for the university community for generations, from protests to graduation ceremonies, to social gatherings, festivals and meeting up with friends.
The Upper Campus Residence (previously Smuts Hall). Earlier this year, the University Council made the decision to consult widely on a permanent name for this, one of our oldest campus buildings. Read the Chair of Council’s message to the community.
The plinth on Madiba Circle (previously, the statue of Cecil John Rhodes). This commanding location foregrounds Sarah Baartman Hall, the plaza and steps and the two residence buildings. Read about the removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes.
Anyone was free to propose a name for one or more of the buildings and places, for the Naming of Buildings Committee to consider. Anonymous proposals were not accepted, and a contact email address had to be supplied. Names and contact details are confidential and will not be released by the university.