More name changes planned for South Africa – including major towns

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 mooted in a meeting on Thursday (20 January), will undergo a full public consultation process in the coming months.

Speaking to News24, deputy chairperson of the committee Zukile Jodwana said the key motivation behind the proposed name changes is to restore the original terms of the places.

He added that some applications cited the recommendations of the Truth Reconciliation Commission to rename certain geographical features after those who contributed to the struggle against apartheid.

Notably, a proposal has been made to rename the suburb of Gompo, which would then free up the name to be used for the renaming of East London.

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

Current name Proposed name Geographical feature
Cala Xhalanga Town
Cradock eNxuba/Kaladokhwe Town
Colchester Nukukamma Suburb
Algoa Bay Nelson Mandela Bay Bay
Tarkastad eSkapu Town
Gompo Clement Kadalie Suburb
Fort Hare Chief Maqoma fort Fort
Portion of N2 Ngumbela Rd National Road
Tylden Steve Biko Town
Sterkstroom Ngquzubomvu Town

“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 areas of Buffalo City and Raymond Mhlaba (Amathole District) and later followed by Nelson Mandela Metro and Chris Hani District Municipalities.

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

Name changes are necessary 

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

Some of the most notable changes included:

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

The minister said that the transformation of the naming landscape in South Africa is ‘a critical component of the heritage landscape as a whole’.

“There was a need for the name changes as this is part of a government programme to transform South Africa’s heritage landscape. The names of places we live in reflect the identity and cultural heritage of the people of South Africa,” he said.

Mthetwa said that prior to the changes, the Provincial Geographical Names Committee conducted public consultations on all the names that were changed.

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


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More name changes planned for South Africa – including major towns