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Wed Nov 26 09:37:17 CAT 2014

What's in a name, anyway?

CANAAN MDLETSHE | 30 November, 2012 00:38
Matriculants writing their end-of-year examinations
Image by: Daniel Born

The KwaZulu-Natal education MEC will be looking into "virgin thighs" and "at the buttocks".

These are some of the translations of inappropriate Zulu and Afrikaans school names that are to be changed.

"These are not educationally sound and will need to be addressed. Such names are not inspiring," MEC Senzo Mchunu said yesterday in Durban at the launch of a programme to transform the schooling system in the province.

Mchunu said his department was shocked to discover the number of schools in KwaZulu-Natal that had "inappropriate and uninspiring" names.

"While we recognise that the naming of schools speaks to local characters, local achievements and eminent personages, in many instances, schools' naming was [not discussed with communities].

"The department is concerned about some of the names and it is for this reason that we will start consultation with all stakeholders about this," he said.

Names of schools in the province include: Mgwazeni (stab him), Tilongo (prison), Ukufakwakhe (his death), Hlaba (slaughter), Esinqeni (at the buttocks), Nkawu (monkey); Mkhuthuzeni (pickpocket), Mbambankunzi (rob him) and Bhekumkhonto (look for spear).

Mchunu said schools bearing inappropriate Afrikaans names would also be changed but he did not identify the schools. One such school might, however, be Vegkop (hill of the battle) High School.

"We don't want to eradicate names of amakhosi (traditional leaders) which some schools are named after. But, as a department, we strongly feel there's a need for change. During the extensive consultative process, we will allow a school to propose three names and one name will be chosen."

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