Press "Enter" to skip to content

85 towns hit with name changes in South Africa – and more are on the way

By Staff Writer


Data from the South African Geographic Names Council (SAGNC) shows that 1,505 name and name changes have been given since the start of the standardisation of the place names process, and 85 towns are among these.

The SAGNC was established by the South African Geographical Names Council Act, 1998 (Act No.118 of 1998) as the body responsible for standardising geographical names in South Africa.

According to the Council, its mission is to standardise geographical names in South Africa and to redress, correct and transform the geographical naming system in South Africa.

The SAGNC recorded data shows that name changes are proposed for several geographical features, including towns, villages, settlements, townships, mountains, rivers, airports, roads, and post offices.

Interestingly, the data shows that the council has gazetted and named or renamed 1,505 geographical features in South Africa since its inception.

According to the data, most of the naming and name changes have occurred in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN), while the Eastern Cape and Limpopo were also popular provinces.

Of the 1,505 items noted on the SAGNC’s data sheet, 85 were Towns.

It must be noted that the data gathered from the SAGNC suggests that either the old name of the town was not recorded or the town was new and, therefore, was then given a name.

Data collection seems to have improved after 2010. The full list of the 85 name changes or new names is given in the table below.

Year Old name New name Province
2000 Chief A Luthuli Park Gauteng
2000 N12 Highway Park Gauteng
2000 Badirile Gauteng
2000 Gateway Mpumalanga
2000 Mamello Gauteng
2001 Boshoek North West
2001 Strydomsdrift Limpopo
2001 Isisekelo Gauteng
2002 Ellisras Lephalale Limpopo
2002 Potgietersrus Mokopane Limpopo
2002 Messina Musina Limpopo
2002 Pietersburg Polokwane Limpopo
2002 Nylstroom Modimolle Limpopo
2002 Dendron Mogwadi Limpopo
2004 Hartbeesfontein Lethabong North West
2004 Thembani Eastern Cape
2005 Magobe Extension 1 Northern Cape
2005 Tabankulu Ntabankulu Eastern Cape
2005 Pirintsu Pirintsho Eastern Cape
2005 Riverside Gauteng
2005 Crystal Park Ext 17 Summerfields Gauteng
2006 eMalahleni Mpumalanga
2006 KwaDukuza KwaZulu-Natal
2006 Malalane Mpumalanga
2006 Evergreen Lifestyle Estate Mpumalanga
2006 Orlando Ekhaya Gauteng
2006 Aspen Lakes Gauteng
2006 Begwa Limpopo
2006 Bela-Bela Limpopo
2006 Bhisho Eastern Cape
2006 Boardwalk Meander Free State
2006 Centane Eastern Cape
2006 Dutywa Eastern Cape
2006 Early Dawn North West
2006 Hammanskraal West Free State
2006 Lakeside Estates Eastern Cape
2006 Langalokukhanya KwaZulu-Natal
2006 Midstream Estate Free State
2006 Modjadjiskloof Limpopo
2006 Mthatha Eastern Cape
2006 Ngcobo Eastern Cape
2006 Ngqamakhwe Eastern Cape
2006 Ngqika Eastern Cape
2006 Ormonde View Gauteng
2006 Senwabarwana Limpopo
2006 Wigwam North West
2006 Mvane Eastern Cape
2006 Nokaneng Mpumalanga
2006 Naboomspruit Mookgophong Limpopo
2009 Badplaas eManzana Mpumalanga
2010 Piet Ritief eMkhondo Mpumalanga
2010 Tshwane Gauteng
2010 Mafikeng Mahikeng North West
2010 Amanzimtoti eManzimtoti KwaZulu-Natal
2010 Umdloti eMdloti KwaZulu-Natal
2010 Tongaat oThongathi KwaZulu-Natal
2010 Congella KwaKhangela KwaZulu-Natal
2011 Nokakgolo Free State
2011 Mkuze eMkhuze KwaZulu-Natal
2011 Ixopo eXobho KwaZulu-Natal
2012 Petrus Steyn Mamafubedu Free State
2013 Greylingstad Nthrowane Mpumalanga
2013 Grootvlei Thaba-Kgwali Mpumalanga
2013 Mzinto eMuziwezinto KwaZulu-Natal
2015 Jamestown James Calata Eastern Cape
2015 Aliwal North Maletswai Eastern Cape
2015 Clocolan Hlohlolwane Free State
2016 Lady Frere Cacadu Eastern Cape
2016 Queenstown Komani Eastern Cape
2016 Mount Frere KwaBhaca Eastern Cape
2016 Mount Ayliff MaXesibeni Eastern Cape
2016 Elliot Khowa Eastern Cape
2017 Melomoth eMthonjaneni KwaZulu-Natal
2018 Grahamstown Makhanda Eastern Cape
2019 Tshoxa Eastern Cape
2021 MaClear Nqanqarhu Eastern Cape
2021 Berlin Ntabozuko Eastern Cape
2021 King William’s Town Qonce Eastern Cape
2021 Mount Fletcher Tlokoeng Eastern Cape
2021 Brandfort Winnie Mandela Free State
2022 Pomeroy Solomon Linda KwaZulu-Natal
2022 Morgan’s Bay Gxarha Eastern Cape
2022 Cradock Enxuba Eastern Cape
2023 Fort Beaufort KwaMaqoma Eastern Cape
2023 Somerset East KwaNojoli Eastern Cape

Some of the most notable changes included:

  • Port Elizabeth to Gqeberha;
  • Morgan’s Bay to Gxarha;
  • Cradock to Nxuba;
  • Uitenhage to Kariega;
  • King Williamstown to Qonce;
  • Queenstown to Komani; and
  • Grahamstown to Makhanda.

Aside from the naming of new geographic features in KwaZulu-Natal, most of the changed names for towns and cities have been in the Eastern Cape—much like all the name changes proposed for towns in the past and in 2023.

The name changes gazetted in 2023 are given in the table below.

Old name New name Feature (province)
Fort Beaufort KwaMaqoma Town (Eastern Cape)
Somerset East KwaNojoli Town (Eastern Cape)
Graaff-Reinet Robert Sobukwe or Fred Hufkie Town (Eastern Cape)
Adendorp Kwa Mseki Bishop Limba Town (Eastern Cape)
Aberdeen Camdeboo Town (Eastern Cape)
Nieu-Bethesda Kwa Noheleni Town (Eastern Cape)

In a recent parliamentary Q&A, the minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture noted that the total number of applications received and gazetted from the Eastern Cape Geographical Names Committee (ECPGNC) since the start of the geographical names process in the Republic of South Africa is 312, which includes the various towns.

Only one application was not approved.

The minister explained that applications not approved were the city name changes from East London to KuGompo (applied for in 2020) and, initially, the changing of the name Grahamstown to Makhanda.

However, after consultations, Grahamstown’s name change was returned to the minister, approved, and then gazetted on 29 June 2018.

More on the way

More recently, the ECPGNC has been holding public hearings in the province to change the names of the towns, including Graaff-Reinet and Aberdeen.

The committee wants to make the following changes:

  • Graaff-Reient to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe
  • Adendorp to Kwa Mseki Bishop Limba;
  • Aberdeen to Camdeboo; and
  • Nieu-Bethesda to Kwa Noheleni.

Additionally, according to the SAGNC, 58 Geographic Name Applications are still being processed, meaning plenty more name changes are coming to South Africa, some of them more than likely to be Towns.

However, the proposed changes have been met with pushback from the affected communities, and political parties in the province have questioned the process used to advance them…


Live Stream + Chat (


Home | Caravan to Midnight (

We Need Your Help To Keep Caravan To Midnight Going,

Please Consider Donating To Help Keep Independent Media Independent

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Breaking News: