The role of place names as indegenous knowledge in the archeology of the Makgabeng-Blouberg area, South Africa

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University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
The act of naming places has a twofold process of significance, firstly, it acts a locator of a particular geographical place and secondly reveals the ideology of the place that gives it its legitimacy. As such, place names represent one of the oldest forms of human cultural heritage. Place names are tailored for encrypting heritage and indigenous knowledge. However, in areas that have had significant interaction with external naming regimes, the indigenous naming processes have been suppressed. The Makgabeng-Blouberg area cultural landscape has an exceedingly long and interactive process with colonial naming processes. This research analyses the socio-political processes that shaped the prevalence of colonial place names in the Makgabeng-Blouberg area and significance of indigenous toponyms to the community. The study suggests that colonial power had far reaching effects in the region. The prevalence of colonial names is a result of subsequent naming regimes continuing the hegemonic ideological dominance over places to reflect their control. However, these indigenous communities, navigate this subjugation through engaging in alternative naming systems. Indigenous place names are used by these communities to preserve their culture and heritage. As such, these place names became part of the community's sense of identity and their historical value, thus creating generational ties and anthropological places for the community.
A Dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Archaeology, in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2024
Place names, Indigenous knowledge, Coloniality, Decoloniality, UCTD
Vena, K. (2024) The role of place names as indegenous knowledge in the archeology of the Makgabeng-Blouberg area, South Africa [Masters disssertation, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg]