“…But he that filches from me my good name

Robs me of that which not enriches him

And leaves me poor indeed. “

William Shakespeare. Othello


For 10 years the Eastern Cape Provincial Geographic Names Committee (ECPGNC) has been trying to change the name of Grahamstown.  It all started in 2007 when the then Makana Mayor announced that the name Grahamstown was offensive and must go.  But, to bring about a name change it has to be shown that there is sufficient public support for the name change which, despite 3 separate and detailed processes, the Makana Municipality was unable to do.

So in 2015, the ECPGNC decided to take matters into its own hands and held it’s own “process”:  a single meeting at a single venue, involving one section of the community.  And on the strength of that one meeting the ECPGNC is now trying to say that Grahamstonians are in favour of changing the name Grahamstown to Makhanda (which is the correct spelling of the name Makana after whom our municipality is already named).

The KGG campaign was started in 2007 to test the views of Grahamstonians on the issue of the proposed name change.  We collected the opinions of more than 5000 people through emails, smses and signatures and we participated fully in the first three processes as conducted by the Makana Municipality in conjunction with the ECPGNC and, as already stated above, on each occasion, the outcome of those three processes was not in favour of changing the name of Grahamstown.

The outcomes of the previous three processes had therefore shown conclusively that the majority of Grahamstonians of all complexions did not support the proposed change and there was no need for another “process” but, as we’ve said all along, the purpose of the processes was to deliver on a pre-determined outcome to change the name of Grahamstown.  They didn’t achieve that purpose which is why we keep having repeat processes.

That’s why the KGG refused to participate and give legitimacy to the ECPGNC’s latest “sham” process and we did so for good and justifiable reasons.  However, when invited to submit objections to the proposed name change we did so, setting out our argument very comprehensively based on the outcome of the previous three processes.  Numerous other objectors also submitted objections directly to the ECPGNC.

That was in June 2016 and the next that was heard from the ECPGNC was when they delivered their response to the objections (a delay of nearly eighteen months!) allowing 30 days for comments on their response.

The KGG wasted no time and we sent them our reply a day later on 21.11.17.

Please read our reply and if you agree, advise the ECGPNC or add comments of our own.

From past experience we know that whenever a new ECPGNC is appointed the issue of changing Grahamstown’s name is revived even when it is clear that it is a “dead duck”.

And this is what has happened again with the current ECPGNC only appointed within the last couple of months and we doubt very much that the newly appointed ECPGNC has properly considered the outcome of the previous processes or the objections that were received by it in response to its latest “process”.  Those objections were also submitted to the previous ECPGNC and no indication is provided of what its response was to the objections.

The KGG’s standpoint is therefore that the response of the current ECPGNC is outdated and invalid as it relates to a “process” conducted by the previous ECPGNC and which was in any event flawed and did not constitute adequate “public consultation” as is required in terms of the relevant legislation and the guidelines of the ECPGNC’s mother body, the South African Geographic Names Council (SAGNC).

There is no doubt that the actions of the ECPGNC in not accepting the outcomes of the previous processes is intended to wear us out and is done in the hope that resistance to the proposed name change will wane.  Ten years on they have no been successful and your continued interest in the issue is appreciated.

Jock McConnachie & Sigidla Ndumo

Joint Co-ordinators, KGG.

“Makana + Grahamstown = Reconciliation/Rekonsiliasie/Luxolelwaniso”