Pretoria name debate stirs emotions

By Drum Digital
08 October 2012

Emotions ran high over the weekend when scores of people attended public meetings about Pretoria's proposed name change, Beeld reported.

In the Pretoria city hall, groups of people gathered in separate race groups, and shortly before the meeting started, men dressed in khaki sang Die Stem, the apartheid-era anthem, the sound of which was drowned out by singing, dancing ANC supporters.

According to the rules of the debate, everyone was supposed to be given a fair chance to be heard without being heckled.

Some argued that a name change would deepen racial divisions, and that it was an attempt to eradicate their heritage, and said that the government should rather focus on upliftment.

Others said the current city name reminded them of apartheid.

Singer Steve Hofmeyr said the name change issue was an irreconcilable debate.

"For one group it's about transformation, and for the other group it's about history. Maybe there's a group in the middle that we should listen to. The next generation (like students) that should take this decision has been absent."

Residents have until November 6 to vote, and voting forms are available at the speaker's office.

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