Street Names

I’ve been in PTA for over a week now, and the city is in the process of changing the street names.  Changing the main street names in the capital city…I…hmm…well, I have a few strong opinions about this that I’ll try to verbalize without sounding like a jerk.

The idea behind changing the street names is great, I think.  Most of the street names that have been changed were named after horrible Apartheid supporters.  They are including names from all nationalities/languages in the new names, including Afrikaner names.  Despite what you may think, not all Afrikaners are bad.  There are some great Afrikaners.  Pretoria just has a lot of streets named after not-great Afrikaners.

Change-good, right?  Maaaaybe not.  You see, changing the street names is REALLY confusing.  Especially to someone like me.  I don’t come here much, and suddenly I have a few dozen of the biggest streets to rename in my head.  Ay batho, not cool.  I love the idea behind it, but the city has invested a lot of money in putting up temporary signs that has the old name crossed out in red, and the new name.  Considering Limpopo province is broke and nearly every rural school in the country desperately needs supplies, I feel like that money could have been used more efficiently.  In about 6 months, they will remove the temporary signs and the streets will just be going by their new names.

I have a map that I recently got.  PTA is a little confusing to get around in, and now my map is useless.  Many businesses have signed with the old names, and they will now need to invest in new signs.  Changing things up like this can hurt tourism because it makes it harder to get around.  And not all the changed names were once named after Apartheid supporting Afrikaners, so the Afrikaner population is not happy.  Also, a lot of the new names are really long and hard to pronounce.  Afrikaners generally do not like this idea, and they feel like SA is trying to erase history.  Yeah, it’s not a great part of SA history, but it is a part of the country’s past.

Apartheid ended nearly 20 years ago, and these are the things SA is struggling to change.  Can you see why race relations are still terrible in this country?  Also, they want to change the name of Pretoria to Tshwane….that’s an even worse controversy.  Oh yeah, next year is an election year, and the ANC is losing its chokehold on SA….wonder why they were hasty to change the street names this year?

Read about it here

One of the “redlined” street signs.



About Jen Lamos

Christ follower. Writer. Permaculturist. RPCV. Photographer. Gardener. Keeper of Chickens. Daughter of God.

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