The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) on Tuesday handed tulips and a memorandum to the Netherlands embassy in Pretoria as part of efforts to oppose the renaming of streets in the city centre.
“The FF Plus today [Tuesday] handed 27 cultivated tulips to the ambassador of the Netherlands in South Africa, with the request that the Netherlands government assists South Africans to protect the shared cultural heritage of South Africa and the Netherlands,” said FF Plus spokesman Willie Spies.
This after the City of Tshwane last week announced that it would be renaming 27 streets in the city, including Vermeulen, Paul Kruger and Queen Wilhelmina Avenue.
The party said this was trying to “eradicate the colonial and the apartheid past”. Spies said each of the tulips represented a street in Pretoria.
The flowers had originally been introduced to the country from the Netherlands in 1947. “The FF Plus would like to have the international community’s attention drawn to the ANC’s disregard of minority rights and diversity in the national heritage of South Africa,” said Spies.
Of the 27 streets, three, according to the memorandum, were of “importance for the people of the Netherlands”.
Queen Wilhelmina Avenue was named after Queen Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Marie of the Netherlands. Schubart Street was named after Anton Frederik Schubart who served as state secretary under former president Marthinus Wessel Pretorius. The third was Proes Street. “Still, the ANC in Pretoria decided to try and erase the Netherlands’ heritage from history,” reads the memorandum.