By Eric Ndiyane

Men through the ages have written poetry to describe the anatomy of women.

But a group of civic leaders in the Eastern Cape seems to have taken this a step further, naming their municipality after a woman's sexual organ.

"Ingquza", the current name of the municipality that incorporates the towns of Lusikisiki and Flagstaff, also happens to be the word for vagina in Xhosa and anus in Zulu.

The name has angered women's lobby groups and divided the council into two factions.

The mayor, Veli Ntsubane, and the speaker of the council, William Ngozi, will on Friday ask Chief Thandizulu Sigcawu to mediate.

The leader of the group that is backing the Ingquza name, Mluleki Fihlane said there was no need to change it because it was derived from a local hill that bears the same name.

"People should not look into the name in that particular (anatomical) meaning. There is history behind the mountain and its name. We cannot waste time fighting over a name," he said.

Fihlane said there was a group of people within the municipality who were scoring points by starting a controversy around the name.

Mayor Ntsubane, however, said the council had adopted an alternative name and would be taking it together with the existing one to their king to adjudicate. "We cannot have a council that could be seen as sexist or derogatory of women. We will use the necessary processes to change it because people do not like it," he said.

Ntsubane said the council would go back to the people to get their views on the name.

Commissioner for Gender Equality in KwaZulu-Natal, Beatrice Ngcobo described the name as "unpalatable and disgusting".

Some residents have also objected to the name, charging the council with undermining their moral fibre.