Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Marching to Pretoria... er Twish who ?

On 7 March, the Metropolitan Council of Pretoria, South Africa’s capital city, voted to began the process of changing Pretoria’s name to the unpronounceable name of Tshwane.

El Jefe, as he has indicated at another place, does not approve of this renaming of cities, and he shall probably continue to refer to the place as Pretoria, the name given to it by its founders in 1855. “Pretoria” was for Andries Pretorius, one of the leaders of the “Great Trek” of Afrikaners into the interior to escape British rule.
To be sure, I don’t approve at all of the regime set up by Pretorius and his descendants, but trying to escape history by renaming it is a futile and pointless exercise, not to mention a monumental waste of money. Politically stupid too -- South Africa needs its white population, which comprises, for obvious reasons, a disproportinate share of the educated population. Rubbing their noses in it would seem to be economically counterproductive, as the example of Zimbabwe should indicate. Oh well, at least the stationers and map-makers shall be happy.

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