UNAM to host international symposium on place names

12 Sep 2017 10:00am
WINDHOEK, 12 SEP (NAMPA) – The 2017 International Symposium on Place Names will take place here from 18 to 20 September.
The University of Namibia (UNAM) Department of Language and Literature Studies will host the symposium jointly organised by the Joint International Geographical Union/International Cartographic Association Commission on Toponymy and South Africa’s University of the Free State (UFS).
This will be the fourth symposium on place names since 2011.
This year’s symposium will be held under the theme ‘Critical toponymy: Place names in political, historical and commercial landscapes’.
Chief organiser of the symposium, Professor Theodorus du Plessis from the UFS told Nampa on Monday that such symposia are held to promote research on place names in southern Africa and to raise awareness about place names.
“We have specifically chosen Windhoek as venue in order to try and involve local place name scholars and researchers,” said Du Plessis.
He expressed hope that participants will through their contributions help Namibians learn more about the role of place names as symbolic markers in preserving or changing cultural identities and also facilitating socio-political dynamics and relations.
Du Plessis said such understanding will stimulate further research and will certainly aid decisions about the standardisation of place names.
The symposium will attract over 25 speakers from the Southern African Development Community region, Europe, the Americas and Far East.
Among them is Herman Beyer from UNAM’s Department of Language and Literature Studies.
The two keynote speakers are Professor Matthias Brenzinger of the Centre for African Language Diversity at the University of Cape Town and Professor Peter Raper, former chairperson of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names and Extraordinary Professor of the UFS.