The Null Device


The South African capital, currently known as Pretoria, is being renamed to Tshwane, the name of an ancient African king, and also a word meaning something like "unity". The renaming has to do with breaking links with the old colonial white minority regime.

By the same token, perhaps when the republican debate restarts in Australia, we can expect proposals for renaming Australian cities. After all, why should cities bear the names of dead English noblemen like Viscount Sydney or Lord Melbourne (let alone areas named after imperial war heroes like Baron Collingwood)? Perhaps, if Germaine Greer's Aboriginal republic ever comes about, Sydney can be renamed to "Warrane" or similar, and other places can have similar post-colonial name changes.

There are 2 comments on "Tshwane":

Posted by: Graham Mon May 30 09:55:13 2005

The difference being that blacks are in a majority in South Africa. Mind you, renaming Albury Bungambrawatha would be pretty cool...

Posted by: acb Mon May 30 11:27:23 2005

Well, yes, there is that. It's probably about as likely to fly as Germaine Greer's somewhat psychoceramic "Aboriginal Republic" proposal.

During the Keating era, it was possible to pretend that the silent majority of Australians were post-colonial liberals ready to repudiate the evils of the British Empire and strike out for a bold new future, with or without various crackpot utopianisms. Now that it has been established that they're Herald-Sun reading suburbanites who find the Greens scarier than the Hillsong religiots, of course, things are different.