Makhanda? Not so fast, says cam­paign

Grocott's Mail - - OPINION -

Since 2007, Keep Gra­ham­stown Gra­ham­stown (KGG) has ac­tively for the re­ten­tion of the name Gra­ham­stown. Since then we have al­ways said that we would ac­cept a name change if the cur­rent name was truly of­fen­sive to the ma­jor­ity of Gra­ham­sto­ni­ans as it was claimed to be by the then Mayor, Mr Nom­pumelelo Kate. We went through three pro­cesses on the mat­ter and the out­comes were not in favour of chang­ing the name.

If they had been, as Prof Ju­lia Wells now claims ( Makhanda2), the name would have changed long ago and it would not have been nec­es­sary for the Sarah Baart­man Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the East­ern Cape Pro­vin­cial Ge­o­graphic Names Com­mit­tee (ECPGNC) to take mat­ters into their own hands at the end of 2015-early 2016.

They held a sin­gle meet­ing on the mat­ter at­tended by fewer than 100 per­sons on which they based their rec­om­men­da­tion that the name should be changed. That led to the pub­li­ca­tion of the No­tice by the Min­is­ter of Arts & Cul­ture on 26 June 2018 that Gra­ham­stown’s new name is Makhanda. The No­tice was de­fec­tive be­cause it failed to in­form peo­ple that they have one month to ob­ject to the name change fol­low­ing which the Min­is­ter must make a fi­nal de­ci­sion with rea­sons. Un­til that hap­pens Gra­ham­stown is still Gra­ham­stown.

The hold­ing of a de­fec­tive process and the pub­li­ca­tion of a de­fec­tive No­tice is typ­i­cal of the man­ner in which the mat­ter of Gra­ham­stown’s name change has been han­dled from the be­gin­ning. Un­der Prof Wells’ di­rec­tion as Chair­per­son of the Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s Nam­ing Task Team, the process was meant to be of a spe­cific du­ra­tion af­ter which our lo­cal coun­cil would make a de­ci­sion on the mat­ter.

How­ever, be­cause the process did not achieve the de­sired re­sult it was re­peated three times with the same out­come and the mat­ter was dropped. Prof Wells’ claim that there was one process which led to the pub­li­ca­tion of the No­tice by the Min­is­ter is typ­i­cal of the many ways she has spun mat­ters since 2007.

Prof Wells and our lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity had noth­ing to do with the last process as con­ducted by the Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the ECPGNC and our lo­cal coun­cil has also made no de­ci­sion on the mat­ter as re­quired by law.

Prof Wells also states that Gra­ham­sto­ni­ans must now ac­cept the name change be­cause it is “of­fi­cial”. It is not. Ob­jec­tions to the name change can be sent to the Min­is­ter of Arts & Cul­ture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, at and should be copied to info@keep­gra­ham­

The cur­rent num­ber of ob­jec­tions re­ceived by KGG is ap­prox­i­mately 10 000 with many more sent di­rectly to the Min­is­ter.

Jock Mc­connachie & Sigidla Ndumo, KGG.

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