11 June 2003
Arts, Culture, Science and Technology Minister Ben Ngubane has accepted new names for Limpopo towns forwarded to him by the province’s geographical names committee.
The committee began its work by renaming the province Limpopo (it was previously named Northern Province) and its capital town (formerly Pietersburg) Polokwane.
Louis Trichardt has been renamed Makhado, while the nearby township will now be known as Dzanani and its post office as Mphephu Post Office.
The chairman of Limpopo’s geographical names committee, Tommy Ntsewa, said Ngubane had accepted the new names after consultation with local communities.
Five towns, including the province’s capital, have already been given new names acceptable to the majority of residents, in a bid to rid the province of names that promoted Afrikaner nationalism to the exclusion of the majority of the population.
Warmbaths is now officially Bela-Bela, Nylstroom is now officially known as Modimolle, Potgietersrus has been renamed Mokopane, and Messina will now be called Musina.
Meanwhile, Ngubane has also approved name changes for three settlements in Mpumalanga.
Buffelspruit near Malelane will now be known as Mhlambanyatsi. Skilpadfontein has been renamed Marapyane, and Almansdrift north of Witbank will be called Mbhongo.
The chairman of Mpumalanga’s geographical names committee, John Skhosana, said two rivers, Treur and Slabhojet, would now be called Sefogane and Mhlambanyatsi respectively.
Skhosana said communities have suggested that Mpumalanga’s capital, Nelspruit, and the nearby White River, be renamed. “We haven’t received a formal submission yet, but our committees at local level have shown that communities want to change the names”, he said.
Skhosana added that African place names that were misspelt by colonialists would also be changed.