Kokstad: name change proposal upsets Griqua community

2010-02-12 00:00

THE issue of whether the name of Kokstad should be changed is again on the agenda and creating tension between the local municipality and the Griqua tribe.

The Greater Kokstad Municipality has called upon local communities and councillors to take part in a meeting today to discuss the naming of the town.

But a representative of the Griqua tribe says the issue is not a priority and a change will not be entertained.

Kokstad was named after the Griqua leader, Adam Kok, who arrived in the area in 1862.

The Mpondo in the Eastern Cape claim Kokstad was their land before Kok arrived.

Mpondo chief Mwelo Nonkonyane, who is the vice president of the SA Football Association (Safa), said that if Griquas intend to contest the matter they should have at least consulted them first. “This is the soil of AmaMpondo, which we allocated for Griquas. This is a democratic process and Griquas should bring us on board to avoid propagation of antagonism and tribalism,” said Nonkonyane.

Griqua leader Cyril George Gangerdine said it is ridiculous and irresponsible for the municipality to even consider changing the town’s name.

“It appears that they do not know the history of Kokstad. This is a historical name …” said Gangerdine. He said Kok had nothing to do with apartheid and was the first person who believed in a rainbow nation.

“Where does this fit … because the way I read it the name change is linked with apartheid names,” he asked. He said the municipality should prioritise road repairs, water supply and sewerage problems.

“There was no need to test people’s views in the first place because no one came up and said he or she wants the name to be changed,” said Gangerdine.

The chairman of the name change committee, Mandla Mathe, said it simply wants to test the community’s views.

Greater Kokstad municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi disclosed that they do not even have proposed new names.

Previous suggestions were that the name should be changed to Koktown or Kok­city, dropping “stad”, which means city in Afrikaans.

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