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South African capital to get African name: mayor

Published on 22/11/2011

South Africa's capital Pretoria will be renamed Tshwane by the end of 2012, with main roads also given names of anti-apartheid leaders, the city's mayor said Tuesday.

The ruling African National Congress has for years sought to rename the capital, currently named after white Afrikaner hero Andries Pretorius, who defeated a 10,000-strong Zulu army in 1838.

The name Tshwane has already been given to the municipality of 2.5 million people that includes Pretoria and nearby areas.

The government already uses Tshwane to refer to the capital, despite strong resistance from the city’s white population.

“When we say we want to change the name of the city to Tshwane and replace the street names with names of our struggle heros, they talk about how much it costs,” Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said in the Pretoria News.

“We are going to be resolute and stubborn in ensuring that our history is recorded correctly, because our brave heros paid the ultimate price,” he said.

The name changes will affect streets named after Afrikaner heros and apartheid-era dignitaries, but also Church Street, the city’s main artery.

Many of South Africa’s cities are in the process of changing their names, with several adopting the sometimes confusing compromise of giving the municipality a new name while the main city retains the old one.

Port Elizabeth is now part of Nelson Mandela Bay, while Bloemfontein sits inside the Mangaung municipality. Some have completely shed their former names, with the northern city of Pietersburg now known as Polokwane.