Call to rename South Africa 'senseless' – Independent Online

DURBAN – Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s call for the ANC to hold discussions around the renaming of the country and the city of Durban has been slammed as “senseless” and a waste of money by opposition party leaders in the city.

Mdu Nkosi, IFP caucus leader in eThekwini, said the ANC had lost track of the core issues it should be focusing on, because many people did not refer to “Durban” as “eThekwini” as the name was not globally more popular than “Durban”.

Nkosi said changing the name would have an adverse effect on marketing.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa File picture: Simone Kley/ANA Pictures

He said leading up to the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and during the tournament proper, advertising billboards had the name Durban and none had eThekwini because internationally people do not know eThekwini Municipality; they know Durban.

“Now they want to change that, something that has taken years to market.”

He said the IFP had once discussed that only names that unify the nation should be considered such as sporting legends and famous musicians, not to make it seem as if the country belongs only to the ANC.

“South Africa is known the world over as South Africa, now they want to start all over again spending a lot of money marketing a new name and it doesn’t make sense.

“It doesn’t have any bearing on apartheid so it doesn’t make sense at all.”

Zwakele Mncwango, DA caucus leader in eThekwini, said the name eThekwini and street names that had been changed were recorded like that, but people still used the old names, therefore there was nothing to change.

“The question should be is changing names a want or a need? Ask any economist, they’ll tell you it’s not a need.”

He said leaders such as Mthethwa were misleading society as they placed emphasis on the present, not the future.

“Changing names won’t create any better future for us as young people. We need visionary leaders saying what decisions are we taking today that will enable an environment for investors to come into our country and eThekwini to invest.

“Changing the name of Durban will never change the city’s economy, but talking about investment in eThekwini, talking about how to attract investors to eThekwini, is what we need at the moment.”

He said that was the only discussion that should be on the table as it was crucial.

“Changing names is something you can do when you’re relaxed in your office and young people are employed, our economy is booming and the gap between the rich and the poor has narrowed.

Mdumiseni Ntuli, ANC provincial spokesperson, said it was inevitable that in the evolution of a country and society some symbols which were historically a result of “a particular dispensation and epoch in our country” are revisited.

“We could not define a new country and build a new society unless the cultural identity of the country was also tampered with.”

He said symbols such as the names of cities reflected the historical background the country came from.

“The point comrade Mthethwa was making is the point all of us share as the ANC, because South Africa is an evolving country and in that evolution changes are going to be necessary to ensure we succeed in building a new nation.”

Asked if these name changes would not have an adverse effect on the country’s global marketing brand, he said it would have to be taken into account that the necessary financial muscle was needed to make sure the changes were properly communicated throughout the world.

Ntuli added that any decisions on name changes in future would have to be accompanied by a clear strategy to ensure that the global standing of the city is sufficiently marketed across the world.

Daily News

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