Mandela has no link to this city

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I CAN only but agree with most of the content of Tim Hopwood’s letter (“City already hijacked Mandela’s name”, May 6).

Much of the historical areas of our city are looking in a sorry state with pockets of restoration, many of which are not recognised as historically correct by international guidelines.

The Nelson Mandela Trust has been made aware of the unauthorised use in Port Elizabeth of Nelson Mandela’s name, including variations of it. Local businesses, including the business chamber, use these as their business names.

I imagine most of them are using the name for selfish reasons to bolster their businesses or probably to be seen as “politically correct”. Advertisers of certain events in Port Elizabeth also try to pretend that this is the name of the city.

The tourism office and others are also punting a tourist walk starting at the Campanile and ending up on the Donkin Reserve as being some historic route related to Mandela and depicting the advent of democracy in South Africa. This is so far from the truth I can’t believe that they can get away with this bluff.

Even some other local societies support this.

The original Donkin is unrecognisable for what it originally was intended. The 1820 Settlers and all those who contributed to the establishment of Port Elizabeth and the surrounding towns up until 1994 are slowly vanishing, removed by those who are trying to rewrite history for political reasons.

The value of Mandela’s name has been so watered down by this wide use of it by every Tom, Dick and Harry.

On all worldwide maps the names of Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Despatch and Algoa Bay appear, but no “Nelson Mandela Bay”. Nowhere on the government’s place name register does a place called “Nelson Mandela Bay” appear.

Generally the local inhabitants of all language and racial groups have for many decades called it Ibhayi, the Bay or Die Baai, and still do, but never “Nelson Mandela Bay”. Throughout the country people, including on radio and TV stations, often refer to Port Elizabeth by these names.

Ironically Mandela has never really had anything significant to do with Port Elizabeth at any time during his lifetime.

Bill Bayley, Port Elizabeth

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