oa South African Journal of Cultural History - Die invloed van kultuur en politiek op straatnaamgewing in Bloemfontein, 1946-1986
In any multilingual country there is a certain amount of tension between the speakers of the different language groups, The conquest of the Cape by England saw the beginning of the struggle between English and Dutch initially, and later between English and Afrikaans, as the official languages. This struggle manifested itself on many levels: in politics, in the economy, in education, and in the media, and, more importantly for this article, in the choice of place-names. This article examines the role of political, cultural and linguistic considerations in the naming of streets and suburbs in Bloemfontein between 1946 and 1986. Before this is done some tendencies in the naming of streets between 1846 and 1946 are touched on. In the first century nearly all streets were named after members of the British royalty and other members of the new rulers. This state of affairs lasted till 1945 when a predominantly Afrikaans city council and an Afrikaans mayor were elected. As political events and attitudes had an effect on the naming of streets in the previous century, political considerations and attitudes were to be manifested in the naming of streets in future. Not only were the names of certain streets changed, but in the new suburbs streets were mainly named after places and events that had a connection with the Afrikaner's culture. Requests from interest groups to name streets after certain political leaders, were turned down. The policy of the City Council was that streets be named first after persons who had rendered exceptional services to Bloemfontein, then after those who had rendered services to the Orange Free State, and lastly after persons who had rendered services to the country. Although a predominantly Afrikaans City Council was in office during the period 1946 till 1986, the interests and sentiments of English speaking ratepayers were always considered.
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