This letter refers to the recent arbitrary gazetting by the Minister of Arts and Culture of changing the name of Grahamstown to Makhanda.
Makhanda is already commemorated in the name of the Municipality, namely, Makana.
Grahamstown had long outgrown its colonial beginnings and is now a worldwide BRAND name. It is a city renowned for its creativity and is a cultural and educational centre, with world-class institutions. It is home to the annual Grahamstown National Arts Festival, currently underway. The Festival contributes millions of rands to the city and to the province.
Nobody will come to the Makhanda National Arts Fesival. The what Festival? The city is also the seat of the High Court of the Eastern Cape. Changing the name of the city will have adverse effects on the function and relationship of the High Court with the rest of the province.
The city is not just some small town in the Eastern Cape. The economic implications of changing the name of the city will have a dire effect on the economy of the city – name changes cost money which the city and its businesses and educational interests can ill afford. Tourism is also one of the mainstays of its economy.
Finally, due process has not been followed in making this name change. It will be challenged!