The Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape has launched the first phase of the renaming of its eight student residences.

They have been named among others after struggle heroes Lilian Ngoyi, Solomon Mahlangu and Hector Pietersen.

The institutional naming and renaming project is a critical part of the University’s transformation process. The university was renamed after former President Nelson Mandela in 2017.

The university says the names of the buildings must resemble leaders like him and what he stood for.

Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sibongile Muthwa says: “We rename our spaces in a manner that elevates our heritage, that elevates what Mandela himself stood for, not just Mandela himself but all of his ilk that worked hard to get the country where it is.”

One of the residences, known as Lethabo, has been renamed after Hector Pieterson who was shot and killed during the Soweto uprising in 1976, when apartheid police opened fire on protesting students.

Pieterson’s sister, Linda Dlamini, says the name change will serve as a good reminder of the struggle Hector and other leaders played during apartheid.

“He’s the only brother I had and each and every time we get invited to any occasion of this sort it becomes a reminder to us of the brutal murder that happened.”