More name changes planned for South Africa – including major cities

The Eastern Cape Provincial Geographical Names Committee is considering a number of name changes for the province – including several major towns.

The proposals, which were discussed at a meeting on Thursday January 20, will undergo a full public consultation process in the coming months.

Talk to News24deputy chairman of the committee, Zukile Jodwana, said the main motivation behind the proposed name changes is to restore the original terms of the places.

He added that some nominations cite the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to rename certain geographical features after those who contributed to the fight against apartheid.

In particular, it was proposed to rename the suburb of Gompo, which would then free up the name to be used for the East London name change.

The other proposed changes were detailed in a social media post from the meeting. They include:

Current name Proposed name Geographic feature
cala Xhalanga City
Cradock eNxuba/Kaladokhwe City
Colchester Nukukamma Suburb
Algoa Bay Nelson Mandela Bay bay
Tarkastad eSkapu City
gompo Clement Kadalie Suburb
Fort Hare Fort of Chief Maqoma strong
Portion of N2 Ngumbala Road National road
Tylden Steve Biko City
Sterkstroom Ngquzubomvu City

“Stakeholder consultation in all affected areas will be undertaken during the 4th quarter of 2021/22 – ending 31 March. The committee will then begin public consultations in May 2022 in the Buffalo City and Raymond Mhlaba (Amathole District) areas, followed by Nelson Mandela Metro Municipalities and Chris Hani District.

“The Committee implores stakeholders and members of the public to please participate in these consultations in their respective areas when called upon.”

Name changes are needed

In February 2021, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced a number of name changes in the Eastern Cape which he said were for transformational purposes.

Some of the more notable changes included:

  • Port Elizabeth to Gqeberha;
  • Uitenhage in Kariega;
  • King Williamstown in Qonce;
  • East London Airport to King Phalo Airport;
  • From Port Elizabeth Airport to Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport.

The Minister said that the transformation of the denominational landscape in South Africa is “an essential component of the heritage landscape as a whole”.

“It was necessary to change the name as it is part of a government program to transform South Africa’s heritage landscape. The names of the places where we live reflect the identity and cultural heritage of the South African people,” he said.

Mthetwa said that before the changes, the Provincial Geographical Names Committee conducted public consultations on all the names that had been changed.

“The South African Geographical Names Act provides for objections within 30 days from members of the public in cases where they are not satisfied with gazette name changes,” he said.


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