Thursday, 26 February 2015

Namibia: renaming Lüderitz is imminent

The Lüderitz Town Council has announced that the southern town will still be renamed to !Nami#nus, while angry residents of the south coastal town have called for a referendum to decide the name.

Mayor Suzan Ndjaleka broke news of council’s decision at a consultative meeting last week, but her announcement was met with opposition from a section of the residents who are not happy with plans to rename their town.

Following a delimitation process conducted in 2013, residents took to the streets to object the Delimitation Commission’s decision to rename the town to !Nami#nus.

Residents were then assured at the time that only the Lüderitz Constituency will be re-named to !Nami#nus, and that the town itself will retain its name.

However, in a surprise turn of events, it was announced last week that the town too will now be renamed to !Nami#nus.
The town is currently named after Adolf Lüderitz, a German merchant and the founder of German South-West Africa, Imperial Germany’s first colony.

!Nami#nus is a description of “surrounded or embraced by water” in the local Nama language.

Ndjaleka gave an overview on the name-change issue, chronicling events leading to President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s announcement of the delimitation results in August 2013.

Ndjaleka stressed that the town council’s decision to effect the name change is final, saying nothing will reverse the decision.
She referred to the meeting that the town council held with Chief of the !Aman Traditional Authority David Fredericks, who enlightened and provided a rich background and history pertaining to !Nami#nus.

Chief Fredericks was in attendance of last week’s consultative meeting with members of the council of !Aman Traditional Authority. They attended the session as observers.

Ndjaleka urged the residents to embrace the proposed new name, irrespective of cultural differences.
Council will draft a resolution on the subject and forward it to the ministry of local government and housing for final approval, before gazetting the name change to make it lawful.

The business community at Lüderitz is opposed to changing the town’s name, saying it will affect a lot of things at the town, including business brands.

The local branch of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) held a meeting where owners of businesses expressed discontent with the proposed name change.

Some business people said they export goods bearing the Lüderitz name overseas, and express fear that changing the town’s name to !Nami#nus will adversely affect their businesses’ profitability.

Disillusioned community members called on the town council to conduct a referendum to decide whether or not to rename the town.