City to put the ‘h’ back in ‘Guguletu’

Cape Town -

The City of Cape Town naming committee will recommend this month that a misspelling of Gugulethu on street signs be corrected at a cost of R200 000.

The misspelling on this street sign dates from the 1980s. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams. Credit: CAPE ARGUS

The misspelling dates from the 1980s, and appears as Guguletu.

In the report, the committee recommended:

The committee said the misspelling was formalised in the 1980s, but that it “could only be speculated on why the ‘h’ in Gugulethu was not included on this formal documentation”.

The city’s language unit said that with the first publication of the Xhosa dictionary in the 19th century, “clicks” and “h” sounds were omitted.

“In today’s dictionaries, such as the Greater Dictionaries of Xhosa, and in isiXhosa orthography of 1980, this has been rectified. One can also look at other place names using the same suffix, such as Imizamo Yethu and Lingelethu.”

The committee said that although it was impractical to change the names on the general plans and individual title deeds for the area, it was possible for the city to change the appropriate signs to reflect the correct spelling.

But Gugulethu is not Cape Town’s only misspelling. In Langa, the city is looking to correct four names: Reverend Howard Marawa Street, which should be “Reverend Howard Marawu Street”; Lerotho Avenue, which should be “Lerotholi Avenue”; Zolile Musie Street, which should be “Xolile Musie” Street; and Jekula Crescent which should be “Mjekula Crescent”.