Grahamstown to be renamed Makhanda after Xhosa warrior

2018-06-29 16:03
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WATCH: Cape Town airport name change meeting descends into chaos

2018-06-05 11:37

Tempers flared during a public meeting on the renaming of Cape Town International Airport on Monday. Watch.WATCH

Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape will soon have a new name. 

The changing of the name Grahamstown to Makhanda was published in the Government Gazette on Friday, the Department of Arts and Culture said.

The department said there had been calls for almost 20 years to change the town's name.

"It is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that recommended that the renaming of geographic features be a form of 'symbolic reparation' to address an unjust past," said Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

"Surely, we cannot prove ourselves committed (as government) to fully achieve these reparations if we retain names such as 'Grahamstown' – named after Colonel John Graham – whose name is captured in history as being the most brutal and most vicious of the British commanders on that frontier."

It said those who pushed for the name change were informed by what Graham "epitomises, and the painfully bitter memories his name evokes".

According to the department's statement, "Makhanda", who was also known as Nxele, was a Xhosa warrior, philosopher and prophet.

He was also a military man who fought against colonialism in battles that include one where he led an attack against the British garrison at Grahamstown in 1819.

The department said public participation with stakeholders had resulted in the proposed names of Rhini, Makana, Makhanda and Nxele. 

ALSO READ: Public participation meeting to be held over Cape Town International Airport name change

Read more on:    nathi mthethwa  |  grahamstown
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