South African identity as reflected by its toponymic tapestry

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 17
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    English: This article aims to point out that the geographical names collectively also reflect the hearts and minds of those who gave the names, ultimately expressing what it means to be a South African in the face of shared historical and cultural experiences that motivated the bestowal of the name. The effects of the policy of transformation are discussed focusing on how transformation differs from mere change and how these two concepts apply to the geographical names of South Africa and its peoples. The policy of changing geographical names for the sake of transformation is discussed from the perspective of it being an ongoing process often misunderstood by policymakers as well as people subjected to it. Using the onomastic framework of the etymological and associative meanings of place names it will be pointed out that being South African involves both shared and differentiating experiences leading to the conclusion that there is no definition for a South African identity and that a national identity is subject to a consciousness and tolerance of social diversity and need.