Uitenhage’s name changed to “Qhagqiwa” or “Garden Town”?

2016-07-14 06:00
Deshun Deysel

Deshun Deysel

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Is it really worth changing a name when that name is internationally known for various aspects, one of them being home to the largest car factory on the African continent?

Is it worth spending millions of Rands on changing a name when “insufficient funds” are so often named as the reason or excuse for lack of maintenance on basic services?

These are but two of the hundreds of comments, outbursts and reactions from the public on social platforms after the Eastern Cape government announced that it is considering changing Uitenhage’s name to “Qhagqiwa” or “Garden Town”.

Comments like: “if the name Uitenhage can’t even be spelled correctly on nameboards, imagine the new name”, “We will be totally lost, not knowing where the heck it is. Poor tourists ... not a good idea”, “Is a name change really necessary? This is a political stunt to gain votes”, “Absurd. There are far more important things to spend tax money on”, “What will be the benefits of it? Surely the money could be much better spent on service delivery?

There were, however, a few people who felt positive about Uitenhage being named “Qhagqiwa”.

The Eastern Cape Geographical Names Committee also announced that public participation hearings would be held after to the local government elections on August 3.

The other name changes include Port Elizabeth (to be changed to Gqeberha) and the Port Elizabeth airport (to be named Sipho Hashe Airport).

Zukile Jodwana, a member of the Eastern Cape geographical names committee said “This is a lengthy process and can take up to six months.

“We have received the applications, but now we have to hold public meetings in the communities where residents can voice their opinions and air their grievances.

“Then we must make a recommendation to the national geographical names committee, which in turn must submit its recommendations to the Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture.”

There are various notable persons linked to Uitenhage. Saying that Enoch Sontonga, Allan Hendrickse, Smuts Ngonyama, Sean Burke, Ton Vosloo, Linky Boshoff, Garth Wright, Deshun Deysel and Loyiso Bala hail from Qhagqiwa, simply lacks any significance.

  • Uitenhage was founded on 25 April 1804 and named in honour of General Jacob Abraham Uitenhage De Mist.

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