Council says 'Grahamstown must go'            Grahamstown, South Africa 
                 17 September 2007 06:34                    
  The name Grahamstown is a step closer to being renamed after a Makana council 
meeting resolved that "Grahamstown must go".

Makana mayor Phumelelo Kate told Grocott's Mail on Monday that the name change 
proposal was based on historical reasons.

"The community must know that the name was imposed by colonialists in honour of 
Graham. The name Grahamstown must go."

The name has twice been criticised by President Thabo Mbeki, who pointed out in 
Parliament that British officer Colonel John Graham, after whom the town was 
named, was a "butcher".

Kate said the council would soon be visiting the community ward by ward to hear 
what their views were on the proposed change of the town's name from 
Grahamstown to iRhini.

On Thursday during a council meeting the councillors resolved that the name 
Grahamstown must be changed. 

"The indigenous people must now shape their destiny by taking part in a process 
of deciding a name for their town," said Kate.

Smilo Grootboom, a member of the Eastern Cape Geographic Names Committee, said 
the committee was not aware of the municipality's decision.

"We have not heard about this and we are waiting for the Makana municipality to 
approach us about their resolution." 

After a council passes a resolution to change a name, the law requires the 
council to apply to the committee, which will scrutinise the application to see 
if it meets all legal requirements.

If the committee is satisfied with the application, it will recommend that name 
to the provincial minister, who then submits it to the South African Geographic 
Names Committee which advises the minister of Arts and Culture. 

If the minister is satisfied, he then gazettes the new name.

According to Grootboom, name-changing was a lengthy process.

He said his committee had not considered "even a quarter of the list of 59 
names in the pipeline". - Sapa

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