City’s name must have meaning for all residents

The renaming of places and building of heritage sites in post-apartheid SA seems to point to a new ways of ordering and shaping public memory. However, which parts of the past do we want to retain and which discard? And do these changes help the nation-building project?

The debates sparked by the renaming of the city of Port Elizabeth to Gqeberha — the name of a river running through the city —  are increasingly gaining traction across the political and racial divide. Reading between the lines, the debates serve what Veronique Rioufol referred to as ways of “reading the nation”. These name changes have got us thinking about our relationship to the past, and more importantly it obliges us to think about what is in the name...

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