All but 2 Limpopo towns renamed

2005-06-28 14:36

Polokwane - The towns of Burgersfort and Groblersdal in Limpopo are the only two major centres that have yet to have their names changed.

The communities are still to be consulted about name changes, said chairperson of Limpopo's Geographical Names Committee, advocate Tommy Ntsewa.

"All the other towns, except Makhado (formerly Louis Trichardt) had their names changed without any protest, as the majority of people seem to understand the need for change," Ntsewa said.

A concerned group called the chairperson's association has taken the Makhado matter to court. They include representatives of the business community — who argue the name change would be costly — as well as representatives of the Tswana and Shangaan people, who don't want the town to be named after a Venda king.

Ntsewa said the sports, arts and culture department, under whose jurisdiction the Geographical Names Committee falls, would defend changing the name to Makhado.

"We have indicated our intention to defend, and all we are waiting for is a court date," Ntsewa said.

Other name changes have sparked protests Proposals to change big city names such as Pretoria to Tshwane have caused protests, especially from Afrikaners who are concerned the African National Congress (ANC) led government wants to wipe out their history. The motive behind the name-change process is to get rid of colonial, offensive and meaningless names.

The Limpopo government kicked off the emotional name-changing process by renaming the province, which was called the Northern Province, to Limpopo in 2002.

As a result, Limpopo's capital Pietersburg became Polokwane. Messina became Musina, Potgietersrus became Mokopane, Warmbaths became Bela-Bela, Phalaborwa became Ba-Phalaborwa, Nylstroom became Modimolle, Ellisras became Lephalale and Bochum became Senwabarwana.

Other place names that are definitely set to change include Dendron to Mogwadi, Duiwelskloof to Ngoako Ramalepe, Hoedspruit to Marulaneng, Naboomspruit to Mookgopong and Soekmekaar to Morbeng.