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Nelson Mandela’s Grandson Wants People To Stop Naming Things After Nelson Mandela

South Africa is “fixated on the Mandelisation of everything,” he says.

"Nelson Mandela Square," a shopping mall in Johannesburg.

“Nelson Mandela Square,” a shopping mall in Johannesburg. (Photo: Marc Smith/CC BY 2.0)

South Africa’s Mthatha Airport is up for a name change. According to City Press, the airport’s Aviation Board is considering renaming it for former president Nelson Mandela. If the plan goes through, the building will join schools, parks, bridges, shopping malls, and another airport already named for the late statesman.

There’s at least one person who isn’t into this trend: Mandela’s oldest grandson, Mandla Mandela. Mandela spoke out against the renaming of Mthatha Airport, explaining that his grandfather would not have wanted others’ contributions to be overlooked in favor of his own.

“People are so fixated… that they want to Mandelise everything,” Mandela told City Press. Meanwhile, he added, others who contributed to the movement are being ignored, or even erased. Mthatha Airport used to be called KD Matanzima Airport, after Mandela’s nephew.

Mandla Mandela, who currently serves as the chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council, has previously also spoken out against the name “Mandla,” which he says is “just like a nickname,” but which the media generally uses to refer to him.

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