South Africa's 'inappropriate' school names to be reviewed

For many years schools in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province have borne Zulu and Afrikaans names which, when translated into English can be deemed as inappropriate. Now KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Senzo Mchunu wants 15 schools renamed.

He had instructed his department to come up with alternative names for the schools, one of which, in KwaZulu-Natal, was called Mathangetshitshi, Zulu for "thighs of a virgin". It was named after Chief Nhleko, whose thighs were admired by local residents. Other schools up for renaming included Bambinkuzu (pickpocket) Primary School, Phuza (drink) Primary School, Nkawu (monkey) High School and Tilongo (prison) Primary School.

"We will negotiate with the villagers to provide us with alternative names in the interests of education," Mchunu said. However, Villagers around Mathangetshitshi High School in KwaMgilija, north of Durban, said they were upset about the proposed change. King Goodwill Zwelithini's spokesman Prince Mbonisi Zulu, said the department was expected to approach the royal family about the name changes.

"We would not be happy if a part of Zulu history was erased without consulting the royal household". The school's deputy principal Muziwenhlanhla Buthelezi said no one was offended by the name. "In fact, we are proud of it and its history... It's unique and we do not feel there is anything inappropriate about it."