Numerous letters to this newspaper and various columns and discussions in the Makana Municipal Council demonstrate that the name change debate is still very much alive in Grahamstown.
Numerous letters to this newspaper and various columns and discussions in the Makana Municipal Council demonstrate that the name change debate is still very much alive in Grahamstown. At a recent council meeting, the Speaker Rachel Madinda-Isaac said that council was going to hold a workshop for councillors on this issue and that video recordings of consultative meetings with the community were going to be shown at the workshop.
We have not heard whether the workshop is still on track, or given the secretive nature of council, perhaps it has happened and council did not tell Grahamstown residents about it. We do not know whether the name change workshop meeting is, (or was) open to the public or not.
The point is that name-change is still a sensitive issue that needs to be openly discussed. italGrocott’s Mail/ital is happy to facilitate this discussion on our editorial pages. The opinion piece alongside this column bears witness to our willingness to serve as a platform for dialogue.
We have received several calls to facilitate an open public debate in a local hall so that members of the general public can also participate in the discussions. We think this is a good idea, and we are keen to host a panel discussion with the added voices of our local residents.
On this basis, we invite interested parties to share their ideas with us on where, when and most importantly how we should proceed with this proposal. We would like to have an interesting debate where matters of substance are discussed. It does not necessarily have to be a simplistic debate pitting those for name change against those who are against it. There are many nuanced, finely balanced arguments that could tip the scales one way or the other. We need to have panellists representing a wide spectrum of ideas on this issue.
There is no point in having a debate where the merits of the discussion are reduced to who can scream the loudest or who has managed to bus in the most number of supporters. We are seeking a quality exchange of ideas, not a shouting match.
These ideas and tell us whether you would like to participate in such a debate.