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LETTERS: Thanks, Matiwane

Even though East London had a Xhosa name, eMonti, the now proposed East London name change is KuGompo.
Even though East London had a Xhosa name, eMonti, the now proposed East London name change is KuGompo.

Thanks, Matiwane

Chumani Matiwane, many thanks for explaining the word Gompo (Cove Rock) to me ("A Sacred Restoration", DD Sep 14). Jan van Riebeeck arrived in the Cape in 1652, so as he was from Holland that is probably where the partly Afrikaans word eMonti was derived.

The fact that Gompo was of spiritual importance and that ill people went for healing there by immersing themselves in the water is interesting and makes sense to the Xhosa nation. — Mick Cowley, via e-mail


Inspirational letter

The letter by Chumani Matiwane on the renaming of East London to KuGompo ("A Sacred Restoration", DD Sep 14) is stunning and inspirational. It shows how some digging in the annals of history can produce rich information about one’s heritage.

Well done Chumani, and hopefully, having learnt a few historic facts people will now stop their relentless pursuit of denying Africans symbolic restorative justice.

How fair is it for Africans to be denied their heritage restoration for so long in their own democratic country, and to live permanently under meaningless names such as Berlin, Colchester, East London, Port Elizabeth, Cradock, Port Alfred. The list is endless.

Just drive around Mthatha reading street names — you will think you are driving  around a town in Europe! It’s madness, really! — Linda Mabu, via e-mail


eMonti all the way

East London residents should know the deadline is Thursday September 17 for submissions on the name of this city.

They should be e-mailed to: objections@ecsrac.gov.za at the Eastern Cape department of sports, recreation, arts and culture.

I do not object to the name of the city changing, but to the proposed name.

There has been little real public consultation on this matter. The decision was made during a town hall meeting in the middle of a pandemic.

A uniform Xhosa identity was unsuccessfully imposed on Africans of the Eastern Cape by Verwoerd.

This city is not Gcaleka, English, Ndlambe, Rharhabe, German, Mfengu, Thembu, Afrikaans, Bhaca, Coloured or Khoi. 

The name of this city should represent its people. eMonti is a hybrid; so are we.

eQonce is a name used by real people for King William's Town, but who calls East London Gompo?

May we use a name we can all recognise, or will a name once again be imposed by the state, in line with colonial tradition? — Chris, via e-mail


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