South African President Jacob Zuma has officially renamed the Bloemfontein International Airport. The Airport will from Thursday 13 December 2012 be known and referred to as the Bram Fischer International Airport. The re-naming ceremony took place in Bloemfontein in South Africa on Thursday 13 December 2012.
President Zuma while honouring Mr. Bram Fischer said “On this historic day I would like to say thank you to Bram Fischer and his generation of freedom fighters for pioneering the struggle for freedom and for keeping the dream for a democratic country alive”.
Abraham “Bram” Fischer, born on April 23, 1908 into the Afrikaner establishment is remembered in South Africa more than 100 years later as a hero in the struggle against apartheid.
During the period of Apartheid in South Africa, Mr. Fischer denied the privileges of the elite environment he grew up in and which guaranteed him a top position in the apartheid (white supremacy) establishment. Instead, he turned his loyalty to the fight for democracy in South Africa.
He became a freedom fighter, a Communist and Nelson Mandela’s comrade and lawyer, defending Mr Mandela and his comrades on sabotage charges in a case that became known as the Rivonia Trial.
In renaming the Bloemfontein International Airport to Bram (Abraham) Fischer Airport, President Zuma and his Government is honouring a hero who fought for freedom for South African Blacks when many other Afrikaners held on to the privileges of dominating other races.
Bloemfontein is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa. It is also the judicial capital of the nation and one of South Africa’s three national capitals. The other two are Cape Town (the legislative capital) and Pretoria (the administrative capital).
Its first European settlers were Dutch (known as Boers). As a result the name Bloemfontein originated from the Dutch and it means “fountain of flowers” in English.
On this same day, President Zuma unveils an 8-metre statue of former president Nelson Mandela on Naval Hill in the city. It is said to be the largest of all statues of the revered former president and statesman which have been erected anywhere in the world.