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The Post-Colonial Identity of Durban

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Many scholars have pointed out that when changes in political regimes take place, these are frequently accompanied by politically-inspired changes of place names. In this article, I look at the naming of the South African east coast city Durban, starting with the name Durban itself, and the various suggestions that have been mooted for its replacement. In particular, I look at the Zulu name for Durban (eThekwini — 'the place of the bay') and its suitability as a new name for the city. The article then goes 'inside' the city and looks at the recent re- naming of a considerable number of Durban's streets, and the public reaction to this. Both the re-naming and the public reaction are placed within the context of re-naming globally.


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