For eight or nine years they have been arguing about changing the name of Pretoria, administrative capital of South Africa. For many people, Pretoria was not only a symbol of the old white government, it also did not give credence to the former neighboring black, colored or Indian townships. Needless to say emotions run high on all sides of the argument – especially as this has always been a predominantly Afrikaans speaking city by its white citizens. Compare this with its mostly English speaking big business neighbor Johannesburg – only 50 miles down the road.
But they did manage to create a super metropolis and agree on its African name of Tshwane – not that they can agree on where it comes from – other than something to do with the Ndebele tribe or language. Most of us will end up pronouncing it schwain, and not the proper Shwa Nay in the local language. To emphasize what the name is supposed to mean, the city uses a great tagline: We are the same.
While the debates rages on (see wikipedia), it appears that the hard deadlines of hosting the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament is helping some decision making along. And today, at the start of the Federations Cup (a warm up for World Cup) the Italian team, which is using Tshwane as its base city, was presented the keys to Tschwane.. without the name Pretoria being used.
So now, all around the world, will we have to update that grand old marching battle hymn of the republic “We are marching to Pretoria”? Maybe not. Most who sang this song probably didn’t have a clue it was a real city they were singing about. Just one with the right melodious tone to it.
In the meantime, we are impressed with this super-city doing such a good self-branding campaign.