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Take Sophiatown back

Fifty years after the Nationalist Party took power in the famed suburb, the original name is back in place.


[South Africa] Amos Masondo is the mayor of Johannesburg. This week, he marked a final and official name change – from Triumph to Sophiatown, along with local politicians, artists and hundreds of former Sophiatown residents. In his speech, where parts are reproduced on the Johannesburg City Council's website, he emphasized the district's symbolic significance.

- The name Sophiatown evokes vivid memories of a vibrant, creative, multicultural district. A place where artists, writers and musicians got to unfold, against all odds. And where whites, blacks and coloreds lived together in tolerance.

In the 1940s and 50s, Sophiatown was a kind of free state where people of all racial backgrounds could sing, dance and drink local brews in beer halls. On the day the Nationalist Party forced more than 65.000 black residents, it was said that not only was a place lost, but an ideal.

- For the white establishment became Sophiatown. . .

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