The decision to rename Port Elizabeth Gqeberha has met with mixed reaction on social media.
Some have welcomed the change, while others are still trying to get their head around the idea and have shared videos of themselves learning how to pronounce the new name.
After about two years of objections from residents, sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa gazetted the name change on Tuesday. The city is not the only one that has been renamed.
Uitenhage is now Kariega, and Port Elizabeth Airport has been renamed Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport.
HeraldLIVE reported in 2019 that the men behind the renaming were Boy Lamani of KwaMagxaki, former ANC MPL Christian Martin, and Khoi and San chief Mervyn Allies.
Lamani, who submitted the name Gqeberha to the geographical names committee, said he had nominated the change in early 2016 when Danny Jordaan was still mayor.
— Alex Sutherland (@createactivism) February 24, 2021
Walmer Township in Port Elizabeth was formerly called Gqeberha but Lamani said the name lost popularity when the area became more industrialised.
Martin campaigned for the renaming of the airport and Allies for the renaming of Uitenhage. They said the name changes are about restorative justice.
Here are some of the reactions:
I can’t wait to hear the GPS try to pronounce #Gqeberha 😅
— Mary Sayegh (@marysayegh09) February 24, 2021
— Mashiya'amahle (@PNMaster_) February 24, 2021
Me: So Where are you from
— Warona Van Staden (@Warona_Mash) February 24, 2021
— TripleTrouble (@monde_mabhoza) February 24, 2021
— Ongama Mtimka (@omtimka) February 24, 2021
I love Eastern Cape's new names, reflecting our rich indigenous history, educating us to understand the stories of old. What's in a name? A lot. Should government focus far more on providing real services now, yes. But don't conflate the two. Processes are independent. #Gqeberha
— Graeme Raubenheimer (@GraemeRauby) February 24, 2021
We visit other African and Asian countries who make no exceptions to the names of their cities…it’s about upholding and preserving their heritage, not pleasing tourists and foreigners…China for example uses the Chinese alphabet on road signs, maps, buildings etc. #Gqeberha ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/fpcZRtgWoZ
— Whitney Mathabela (@IamWhitneyMat) February 24, 2021
— Riaz Bulbulia (@RiazBulbulia) February 24, 2021