29 June 2018

South Africa: Grahamstown to be Renamed After Xhosa Warrior

Photo: Tim Giddings/Wikimedia Commons
Grahamstown (file photo).

Cape Town — Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa has published a government gazette stating that Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape will be renamed Makhanda.

The name pays homage to the Xhosa warrior and philosopher, who was also known as Nxele. One of Makhanda's noted battles in his fight against colonialism was one where he led an attack against the British garrison at Grahamstown in 1819, Minister Mthethwa said.

"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," Mthethwa said.

"These reparations include changing the names of geographical places. 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 the most vicious of the British commanders on that frontier."

Other names considered were Nxele, Makana and Rhini.

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