‘We don’t care for name changes!’
Residents in the Eastern Cape say that two proposed name changes in the province are the least of their concerns right now.
The issue is the use of NU, or “native units”, to describe sections of Motherwell and Mdantsane townships.
Sections of Motherwell are numbered from NU1 to NU31, while sections of Mdantsane are numbered NU1 to NU18. These are two of the province’s biggest townships.
The Eastern Cape Provincial Geographical Names Committee has called on the province’s two metros, Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City, to do away with the use of native units.
The committee has flagged using native units as offensive, taking into consideration the country’s history of apartheid.
The NU designation in both these townships was identified as meeting the criteria for redress by the naming committee in terms of the SA Geographical Names Council.
In a report tabled by Nelson Mandela Bay’s acting executive director of sports, recreation, arts and culture, Charmaine Williams, the Bay was made aware of the naming council’s concerns.
“Concerns were raised that the Motherwell area is still using NUs, which is an abbreviation for ‘native units’ and those NUs have derogatory connotations attached to them,” the report says.
Scrolla.Africa spoke to residents of Motherwell for their views on the proposed change.
Resident Nosiphesihle Sizani said: “I wasn’t even aware that NU stood for native units, it doesn’t really bother me. The municipality should just focus on creating jobs, that’s all we want.”
Another resident, Siphamandla Mconi, said: “That is the least of our concerns. All we want is water and electricity.
“This is just another ploy to misuse taxpayers’ money. Only politicians are bothered by this.”
Gogo Nancy, 78, who has been a resident of Motherwell since its formation in 1984, said she was happy with the change although it no longer bothered her.
“Back then it was offensive and judging by how far out of town it was, we felt like we were being directly excluded from the city because we were black and undesirable but now it doesn’t really matter,” she said.
Name changes are also on the cards for two Eastern Cape towns. The town of Fort Beaufort will now be called KwaMaqoma and Somerset East will be known as KwaNojoli.
Pictured above: Buffalo City in the Eastern Cape
Image source: Supplied