Xingwana retracts Pretoria name change

Ministry has instructed more work to be done by officials on the matter

The standardisation of geographical names in a democratic South Africa is part of the process of redressing the marginalisation of indigenous language, culture, and heritage. It reclaims this wealth for the benefit of all, now and for the future. It is an exciting and dynamic process filled with opportunity for South Africans to enhance their understanding of themselves and their geographical places and in this way, to celebrate our common identity.

Geographic names standardisation is not a uniquely South African phenomenon. In terms of United Nations (UN) Resolution 4 of the first UN Conference on the Standardisation of Geographical Names, each country has, the sovereign right to standardise its geographical names and decide what the name for each feature in that country should be and how that name should be written. In 1998 the South African Geographical Names Council Act (Act No.118 of 1998) was passed by Parliament.

Names standardisation is part of the broad reconciliation and social cohesion process. The standardisation of geographical names in South Africa is part of the healing and reconciliation process, within the broader context of social transformation. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended the re-naming of geographical features as a form of symbolic reparations to address South Africa's unjust past. We all know that many of the existing names of our geographical features are not reflective of our society and our quest for national unity. Names standardisation is not an attempt to obliterate the history of any section of our society. It seeks to contribute towards inclusivity and participatory democracy that acknowledges our common heritage.

Accordingly, the Minister would like to announce that she has approved the following geographical names on the recommendation of the South African Geographical Names Council:

1.  Century City Station

Railway Station in Cape Town

2.   eMkhondo (change of name from Piet Retief)  

Town in Mpumalanga

3. eNtumeni (correction of spelling from Ntumeni)

Village in KwaZulu-Natal

4. eNyezane (correction of spelling from Nyezane)

Village in KwaZulu-Natal

5.  eNyoni (correction of spelling from Nyoni)

Village in KwaZulu-Natal

6.  eSitheza (correction of spelling from Teza)

Village in KwaZulu-Natal


Mountain in Mpumalanga

8.    Hillsview

Suburb in Mpumalanga

9.  iNyoni (correction of spelling from Nyoni)

River in KwaZulu-Natal

10.   Kalomboma

River in Mpumalanga

11.   Kakholwane

Mountain in Mpumalanga

12.   Kamagugu

Township in Mpumalanga

13.    King Shaka International    Airport (change of name from La Mercy Airport)

Airport in KwaZulu-Natal

14.  Magadze

River in Mpumalanga

15.  Mahikeng

Town in North West

16.  Mandlela

Mountain in Mpumalanga

17.  Manyeveni

Settlement in Mpumalanga

18.  Masoyi

Village in Mpumalanga

19.  Mbhucu

Mountain in Mpumalanga

20.  Mbube

Mountain in Mpumalanga

21.  Mlalati

Mountain in Mpumalanga

22.  Mkhingoma

Mountain in Mpumalanga

23.  Mkhomazane

River in Mpumalanga

24. Sbubule

Mountain in Mpumalanga

25. Siyanabani

River in Mpumalanga

26. Tekatakho

Settlement in Mpumalanga

27. uThukela (correction of spelling from Tugela   from Tugela)

River in KwaZulu-Natal

28. Ukuthula Game EstateEstate

Game and residential estate in Mpumalanga

Due to technical matters identified late last week, Minister Xingwana has retracted the registration of the Tshwane municipal council name as a geographical feature (see here). The Ministry has instructed more work to be done by officials on this matter.

As government we believe geographical name standardization is at the heart of our social cohesion project.

Statement issued by the Department of Arts and Culture, February 2 2010

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