A total of 99% of Cradock’s residents present at a stakeholders’ consultation meeting, held by the South African Geographical Names Change Council (SAGNC) at the Vuzubuntu Hall on Wednesday, March 23, were against a name change for the town.
Those in favour of keeping the name of Cradock pointed out that they were not living in the past, but in the present and looking forward to the future, that the name of Cradock was well-known, that the name Cradock is unequivocally joined to the country’s modern-day history and that it is a waste of money to change old well-known place names.
One speaker, Kai Peters, representing the Khoi and San, was in favour of the name change.
“Since 1814 we, the Khoi and San, have suffered under that name to such an extent that our tribe was on the brink of extinction. The sooner we can get rid of the name Cradock, the better. It holds only bad memories,” Peters said.
The two proposed new names for Cradock are Kaladokwe and Enxuba. According to one of the presenters the name of Kaladokwe will not feature in future as it is only an isiXhosa corruption of the name Cradock.
Cradock was established in 1814 and named after the then governor of the Cape, Sir John Cradock. Amongst the offences held against Cradock by SAGNC was that, “he had crushed anti-colonial rebellions in Ireland and India before being posted to Cape Town” and, “in 1812 he could report to the British cabinet that the inhabitants of the Zuurved had been forced across the Fish River with ‘a proper degree of terror’.
The proposed new name, Enxuba, is to honour David (Dawid) Stuurman, the Khoi chief of the Nxuba tribe that Port Elizabeth International Airport is now also named after.
Cradock falls under the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality.
When asked if the result of the meeting would in any way influence the name-change process, the audience was informed that this meeting was only held to inform the residents of Cradock about the name change and would not in any way affect the decision of SAGNC and the minister.
A similar meeting, proposing name changes, was held in Middelburg seven years ago. The meeting did not end amicably and no decision or resolution was taken.