Currently in Johannesburg, South Africa

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LOUIS BOTHA AVENUE

Louis Botha Avenue is a major street in Johannesburg, South Africa. It runs from the eastern side of the city through to the outskirts of Johannesburg. Streets are often named after significant personalities, which give clues about the city's political history. In 1917, the Federation of Johannesburg Ratepayers recommended to the council that General Louis Botha be honoured by a street name for his World War I "services to the Empire".

 

Botha helped to establish the Union of South Africa and became its first prime minister. Botha believed in maintaining black traditions and in totally segregating black and white, except where black people were needed as workers. The oppressive Native Land Act of 1913 was a revolution in land tenure; the black community had no rights to hire or buy land in the white areas and their lands were strictly demarcated and inadequate.

 

In Post-Apartheid South Africa those divisions and historical facets are transforming within a new urban democracy. Tshwane Metropolitan Council has announced its intention to replace apartheid street names with names that reflect the country's democracy, freedom and cultural diversity. This process ensures that all cultures and languages are inclusive and represented, to create a new African capital city reflecting a shared heritage, identity and destiny.

 

Louis Botha Avenue reveals a chapter in my life as a youth but also a microcosm of Johannesburg as a city of extremes. Now a continental hub of financial business and cultural innovation and a diversity of ethnic, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds; the landscape is moulded by new patterns of skilled and unskilled migration and increased urbanization.