Name changes suggested for Eastern Cape towns

Posted by Leila Stein on 4 September 2020

Towns in the Eastern Cape are in the process of having their names changed. Several towns in the province will have their names changed to reflect the people who live in the region and their history.

The biggest name among these is East London, which has been proposed to change to KuGompo.

This isn’t the first time that a name of a town has changed in South Africa or the Eastern Cape. As recently as 2018, Grahamstown was changed to Makhanda as part of the Eastern Cape governments programme.

The other proposed name changes are:

-King William’s Town to Quonce

-Berlin to Ntabozuko

-East London Airport to King Phalo Airport.

The aim of this renaming project is to remove significant colonial signifiers from the area and reshape the understanding of the province in relation to its mainly Xhosa people’s history.

While some names are often just the isiXhosa name for the area where the towns lie, others move to honour and acknowledge leaders who have been sidelined in favour of colonial places or people.

King Phalo, for example, was a paramount chief of the Xhosa nation from 1736 until his death in 1775.

As the names are still in the planning stage, residents have the right to comment on the proposal before September 21.

Image: @fieggentrio/Twitter

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