For too long we have been taught a history from another persons’ point of view, where the South African has allowed other nations to tell our history. They have glorified the hunter, while we remained the mere lion at the back end of our own story. For the first time we have a vehicle our young can access in schools and our tourists can walk away with. This is our history reclaimed so that our struggle was not in vain.
South African History Retold: A Beginner’s Guide to the History Behind the Street Names, is the first of many volumes to come. This volume deals with explaining the history of the people that the South African street names have been changed to. It is a snapshot into the lives of people that gave up their freedom and many times their lives to release South Africa from the shackles of apartheid. It is not the complete list of all the struggle heroes that fought for freedom. It is however a start.
This book has been written for several other reasons. It is meant to be a beacon of hope for the youth so that they can introspect and look at their identity in the South African context and how they can be a positive influence in shaping the country. Coming from a colonial history and many prescribed texts still teaching it, this book is targeted at decolonizing our education, reclaiming our history, transforming our minds and traveling our own path. At the forefront of the purpose of the book, is the intention of getting to know our icons, and to celebrate the people that allowed us the freedom we enjoy today.
I hope that you treat this book as a vehicle to want to read further about our history. I hope on your daily drives when seeing these names, you are better informed about who they were. I hope you share it with your children for many years to come.