During the full council session on Friday, Francistown City Councilors conceded on a motion to try and localize the names of Francistown streets which were named after colonial settlers.
The councilors were responding to the motion raised by James Kgalajwe, the councilor for Satellite location who had long presented the motion before the city council with the view that there is need to localize the street names in Francistown as most of them were named after former colonial settlers, leaving out the local icons.
“When the city of Francistown was founded in 1895, the streets were named after the white colonial settlers forgetting the locals and I feel that it was unfair as locals need to be recognized,” Kgalajwe said.
He went on to tell the full council that the streets that exist, particularly in the Central Business District, bear the names of white colonial explorers like Moffat Avenue, St Patrick Street and Blue Jacket Avenue.
He said that the few local names he knows are Lobengula Street and Khama Avenue.
Reaching back in history, Kgalajwe said that history tells us that when Francistown was first established in 1895, a British national and a German national came to the city as mineral explorers and after discovering gold there was an influx of Europeans into the city.
“Daniel Francis, whom the city was named after, also came some years later,” Kgalajwe said.
Kgalajwe pointed out that history written in books also reveals that before the European explorers arrived in Francistown, there was a local village called Nyangabwe and added that these people were also engaged in mining as they mined metals to make their tools.
He went further to say that it is a shame that the colonial masters did not recognize the locals in the area.
“You are aware that during the colonial days, there was racial discrimination between the whites and the local black people, which also led to the blacks being neglected in the naming of the streets,” he told council.
Kgalajwe stated that although history is a good aspect of life, there is still a need to rectify some of the errors that were done during the colonial era.
He took issue with the fact that most of the colonial explorers came to Francistown to exploit minerals from the local due to their selfish interests forgetting the plight of the natives.
He added that there are local icons who contributed to the growth and development of Francistown, singling out the late Philip Matante, Rebecca Nshakazhogwe, as some people after whom streets could be renamed.
The councilors agreed that indeed there is a need to recognize local icons as a way of instilling pride and recognition of our people.