n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - At the crossroads of history : street names as monuments in the South African cityscape

Volume 2012, Issue 19
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



Place name changes are an ongoing process and a contentious and politicised issue in twenty-first-century South Africa, where the changes are often implemented as a form of redress and/or nation-building. This paper examines the practice of name-changing as it relates to street names in South Africa, with a special focus on Pretoria (Tshwane). Whereas street name changes may be used as a political statement, I offer an alternative pathway inspired by Karen Till's (2012) concept of the 'wounded city.' In particular, I address the question of whether or not the heritage value of street names is taken sufficiently into account when changes are implemented considering that street names act as containers of meaning; monuments to the intangible; and as visible reminders of a contested history that should not necessarily be obliterated from our townscapes.

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