Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana has approved proposed changes to 28 geographical names, her department said in a statement on Tuesday.
Changes of geographical names like Mafikeng to Mahikeng, in the North West, and Piet Retief to eMkhondo, in Mpumalanga, were in line with the South African Geographical Names Council Act, the department said.
“The standardisation of geographical names in South Africa is part of the healing and reconciliation process … part of the process of redressing the marginalisation of indigenous language, culture, and heritage.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended the renaming of geographical features as a form of symbolic reparations to address South Africa’s unjust past,” it said.
Other geographical names approved by the minister on the recommendation of the South African Geographical Names Council include the Century City station in Cape Town, and the Goliyadi, Kakholwane, Mandela, Mbhucu, Mbube, Malati, Mkhingoma and Sbubule mountains in Mpumalanga.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the minister approved the changing of the names of the villages Ntumeni to eNtumeni, Nyezane to eNyezane, Nyoni to eNyoni, and Teza to eSitheza.
The La Mercy Airport, in KwaZulu-Natal, has been renamed King Shaka International Airport.
“We all know that many of the existing names of our geographical features are not reflective of our society and our quest for national unity.
“Names standardisation is not an attempt to obliterate the history of any section of our society. It seeks to contribute towards inclusivity and participatory democracy that acknowledges our common heritage,” the department said. — Sapa