SOUTH-AFRICA-EASTERN-CAPE-L ArchivesArchiver > SOUTH-AFRICA-EASTERN-CAPE > 2008-08 > 1218642830
From: Pat <>
Subject: Re: [ZA-EC] Place name changes.
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 17:53:50 +0200
Some years ago (I think in the early 70's) a committee/commission was
set up to try to standardise on South African place names. After much
deliberation, which included study of historical records, local usage
and dominant preference they came up with a list of names that had to be
used in official documents/publications. In the course of this exercise
they decided that Kingwilliamstown would be King William's Town,
Simonstown would be Simon's Town and that Grahamstown would be spelt in
this way and not Graham's Town. The original database can still be
searched on the Department of Arts and Culture website at this
address(http://sagns.dac.gov.za/ selecting "Search" and "Surveys and
Mapping"). Peter's point regarding the date of acceptance is still
valid. In order to use the correct name for a particular event we need
to know when the change took place. This database does sometimes give a
changeover date, but not often.
The same body also tried to deal with the issue of Afrikaans and
English spelling and they did rule on some of these but I think that it
proved too controversial to try and enforce any one usage. One place
that I can recall where they did make a ruling was a small forest
station in the southern Cape which was usually called Blouleliesbos but
they determined that this should be Blue Lilies Bush.
Of course things are changing rapidly and one does not know if any of
these rules are still being applied (apart from the official name
changes that are now being implemented) except in such areas as the
official trig survey maps.
Peter Kirkman wrote:
> This topic was given quite a bit of air on the list some months back : how to deal in one's records with the constant changing of place names.
> This query is a little more subtle and deals with the change of spelling (or is it syntax?). For example, when did Graham's Town evolve into Grahamstown? Is there a logical cut-off date? The usage of the modern form looks ridiculous when used in, say, 1820 and other early context. Usage of the quaint old form looks equally out of place in the context of modern documents, so where do we split? Raper's dictionary of place names is unhelpful in this regard. The place is called "Grahamstown", but there is reference to it first being named "Graham's Town". I look forward to the advice of our place-name fundis. I guess the same applies to King William's Town / Kingwilliamstown.
> Regards - Peter
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