OPINION: What’s in a name; a lot of pain...

2016-04-21 06:00
 Mandla Klanisi – is onvoled in Community Development and regards himself as a social activist.

Mandla Klanisi – is onvoled in Community Development and regards himself as a social activist.

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How far is the process of renaming South Africa after we have attained the new dispensation.

I was told by some colleagues of mine that there is a commission or council that is officially designated for this purpose.

If the government fails with radical transformation of ‘apartheid names’, it brings no confidence in the completion of the so called “complicated land reforms processes” in South Africa.

Transformation must include the changing of place names, because these are just names, not complicated physical things.

By the way, what is their relevancy in this “new” South Africa, in this new dispensation?

It is quite shocking that even today in South Africa, there are still provinces using ‘apartheid names’.

Even Institutions such as schools, streets, still carrying names used in the apartheid era.

The language of the apartheid must be thrown to the Museums for learning purposes, not to have it in our mist. Unless we are not practical when we talk of transformation.

One of my discoveries, is finding out that there is still a school in the city centre of Cape Town called Jan van Riebeeck Primary school.

Mostly so called “white middle class children” attend this school. Who was it created for when it was built? Was is it created for every child living in South Africa then? I don’t think so. It was for a specific group which I called the ‘Sons and Daughters of Jan Van riebeeck’.

When that school was named Jan Van Riebeeck - who was honouring him for what? Or did he honour himself, what for; land invassion.

As a young African man, Jan van Riebeeck paints injustices in my mind and I am sure even to the minds of my fellow Africans. Colonisation, slavery and apartheid. For those who benefitted from his schemes, he was a hero. He must fall!

Terms or names like “townships” must be abolished even in government gazettes.

They were used by the oppressors to suit their needs during the apartheid era. In this new South Africa, so called ‘’townships’’ must be called by names given by the people living in these communities. They are communities with people not “ships”.

How long we will be calling each other by colours of our skins. As far as I’m concerned, in the context of South Africa, this practise will always be attached to the apartheid system.

It will always be a constant reminder to what happened under the apartheid government.

People were called “Blacks or Non Europeans” by the apartheid government. That government developed those terminologies or language to suit their needs. Segregating and oppressing the people of the African continent. It is so disappointing that even this new government is still holding to those terms.

If we can’t change small things? How is it possible that we begin to change “complicated” things? Smalls steps lead to “completion” of the journey of transformation. It is a movement and action that brings about change. Not just round table discussions and coffees.

The engine of the transformation train in South Africa needs to ignite. The key needs to be turned in order for it to run. Who must turn it? All of us – the “victims of apartheid together with those who were oppressors and those who benefited from it”

We need to be creating place names and language that unites us as people living in this land. We need language that paints a transforming nation.

Away with apartheid names.

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