• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

EL Airport could be named King Phalo

By Mihle Tolobisa

King Phalo, King Tshiwo or Steve Biko Airport; one of these names will be the new name of the East London airport.


They were presented by the Eastern Cape Geographical Names Council (ECGNC) to Buffalo City residents following submissions made through forms available at municipalities, during a public engagement at the East London City Hall recently.


King Phalo was the preferred name that will be considered at the ministerial level. The engagement also suggested one name for the City; Gompo. Attendants were of different ages and showed interest in the inclusive process.


King Phalo, Phalo kaTshiwo is a Xhosa paramount who ruled from 1736 until he was killed by British troops in 1775.


His father died before he was born and he took over the Xhosa Kingship after a battle with his older half-brother, Gwali. His sons Langa, Gcaleka (Great House) Rharhabe and Lutshaba, through their rivalry, led to the split of the Xhosa nation.


Phumla Makhatala, Chairperson of the ECGNC, said, “In reclaiming our history, we have to go back to our roots. The name changes are a way to remind us of our culture and home.”

Nkosazana Hoboshe said it would be fitting to name another airport after a King. “Even when we speak, we say ‘ezika Phalo’ when referring to each other. Let us give him the respect he deserves as a King.”


Tsholomnqa resident, Usenathi Ndaliso added that the process is not just about the name. “We are learning different things about our backgrounds as Africans and that is the significance the name changes carry. It is the history that should not be forgotten,” he enthused.

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