Port Elizabeth, a city based in the Eastern Cape of South Africa will likely see a name change by the end of 2016. Known as the Friendly city, due to the warm hearted nature of locals, a name change has been on the cards for a while now. It is not just the city that will be receiving a name change but the airport in the city as well. Applications for new names for the city and the airport have been submitted to the Eastern Cape Geographical Names Committee.
A suggestion for the name change of Port Elizabeth is Gquberha. A possible name change for the Port Elizabeth Airport could be the Sipho Hashe Airport. As with any geographical name change, there are procedures to follow. It is a long process and could take up to a year. Even once approved, all of the name changes will not appear on road signs or even on maps. This part could take a while. The name changes however, are still in the application process. Although names have been received, public meetings will have to be scheduled so that locals will be able to have a say in the name changes. This will not be done until after August when the municipal elections are well and over, done and dusted. The elections are an important part of South Africa’s democracy and out of respect, attention will not be drawn away from it. If the meetings are successful, then a recommendation must be made to the national committee who will then submit it to the Minister of Sports, Art, Recreation and Culture.
The name change of Port Elizabeth will be to Gquberha which was the old name of the town of Walmer. The proposed name of the Sipho Hashe Airport is to honour an anti-apartheid activist. Sipho Hashe was one of 3 activists who were kidnapped at the Port Elizabeth Airport in 1985 and murdered shortly afterwards. In time, Sipho Hashe, along with Qaqawuli Godolozi and Champion Galela had come to be known as the Pebco three. Renaming the Port Elizabeth Airport into the Sipho Hashe Airport will serve as a tribute to their sacrifice towards South Africa’s democracy.
The airport is known as the 10 minute airport, for its location is around a 10 minute drive from the city centre and many other important places in the city. The airport serves well over a million passengers every year, with the capability to handle up to 2 million passengers. Full service as well as low cost airlines operate out of the airport. At the airport itself, passengers and visitors can catch a bite to eat, and shop for clothing, souvenirs and electronics. A post box is available along with ATM’s, restrooms, telephones and prayer rooms. The airports conferencing room is fully equipped and can handle up to 30 people. Ramps and lifts are located throughout the terminal building for ease of access for disabled visitors. The terminal building houses a viewing deck where all runway activity can be watched.