Port Elizabeth residents woke up on Wednesday in the city of Gqeberha. No, this isn’t the South African version of The Hangover, but rather, the final result of a lengthy consultation process that has sought to change colonial names of towns and locations across the Eastern Cape. Already, some people are having trouble trying to pronounce its new moniker.

From Port Elizabeth to Gqeberha: Name change rattles SA

The name change has proved to be highly controversial. The DA’s Michael Cardo was scathing in his reaction, slamming the government for failing to ‘get their priorities right’.

“The Eastern Cape has the highest unemployment rate in the country, according to today’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey (52.4% on the expanded definition, almost 10 percentage points more than the national rate). But, hey, its towns and airports have a new bunch of names. #Progress”.

On the flipside, local ANC heavyweight Andile Lungisa was beaming with the shift to Gqeberha, and he thanked the minister for ‘removing the names of colonial cities’.

“It’s official: Now, there is no longer a colonial city called Port Elizabeth. Our city is called Gqeberha. No area called Uitenhage, it’s now is Kariega. Thanks to Minister Nathi Mthethwa… siyabulela.”

How do I pronounce Gqeberha?

The new name was submitted by Boy Lamani of KwaMagxaki, who explained that Gqeberha is the isiXhosa name for Walmer Township, one of the first and oldest Port Elizabeth townships. This nod to the roots of the city has caused divisions however, as arguments about the cost of the name-change surfaced online.

However, one thing we can settle today is how you pronounce Gqeberha…

  • – There’s a three-step guide to getting it right
  • – Still struggling? Here’s your audio guide…

Eastern Cape name changes: Towns, airports, others…

Towns

  • Port Elizabeth will be changed to Gqeberha
  • Uitenhage will be changed to Kariega
  • Berlin will be changed to Ntabozuko
  • MaClear Town will change to Nqanqarhu
  • King Williams Town will change to Qonce

Airports

The Port Elizabeth International Airport will change to Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport

East London Airport will change to King Phalo Airport

Other changes

All other changes listed in Gazette issue 44181 can be found here

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Presh JM Reporter

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