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Grahamstown to be renamed after late Xhosa warrior & philosopher Makhanda

Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the renaming of the eastern town follows 20 years of discussions by members of the public, academics and politicians.

FILE: Makhanda (Nxele). Picture: Thembani Onceya/Wikimedia Commons

JOHANNESBURG - Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has gazetted the renaming of Grahamstown to Makhanda.

Mthethwa says the renaming of the eastern town follows 20 years of discussions by members of the public, academics and politicians.

The arts and culture minister says the local municipality held public talks which also dealt with possibly changing street names. He says it’s been standard practice in the country to change names which are not in line with the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

The department's Asanda Magaqa explains: “It is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that recommended that the renaming of geographic features be a form of symbolic reparation, to address an unjust past. These reparations include changing names of geographic places.”

The town is being renamed after Makhanda, who was also known as Nxele - a Xhosa warrior, philosopher, prophet and military man who fought against colonialism. Makhanda led an attack against the British garrison in 1819.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)