Dictionary of Southern African Place Names.4thed.ByPETER E. RAPER LUCIE A. MÖLLER,and
L. THEODORUS DU PLESSIS. Johannesburg and Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers. 2014. Pp.
xxiv þx566. R180.00 (PB), ISBN: 9781868425495; various prices (eBook), ISBN:
With a modified title, the addition of two new named authors, and numerous updates
and expansions, the fourth edition of this Dictionary builds on the success and reputation
of its forebears to reassert its status as the key companion resource for South African top-
onyms. Peter Raper’s original lexicon was published in 1987 as the Dictionary of South
African Place Names, with its second incarnation following soon afterwards as the New
Dictionary of South African Place Names (1989). The production of the revised and
updated third edition, with the same title, was in part “necessitated by the election of
1994 and the increase in the number of provinces from four to nine”(2004, vii). The
subsequent need for this new fourth edition has been driven particularly by the ongoing
changes to place names that were made possible by South African Geographical Names
Council Act (1998). This has seen the standardization of a significant number of new
names (2014, viii). The State Information Technology Agency has developed the database
and archival system for these names, which was formally approved by the Department of
Arts and Culture in 2002. The introduction to the third edition of the Dictionary noted
the establishment of SAGNC as the national authority responsible for geographical
names (2004, x), but the organization was at an early stage of its work in 2004. As the
authors of the fourth edition helpfully explain: “New place names, and proposals for
changes or revisions of names, are submitted to the SAGNC and to the Provincial
Geographical Names Committees. On their recommendation names approved by the
Minister of Arts and Culture are published in the Government Gazette”(2014, xi).
Language, names, culture, and perceptions continue to evolve, and the fourth edition
therefore provides a timely reflection of names in South Africa following many of these
changes, with the inclusion of new entries and the revision of information about revised
or altered names. The title of the fourth edition has also been revised to better reflect the
geographical coverage, which, just like the third edition, includes “names of major fea-
tures in neighbouring countries”(2014, vii). However, the authors note that since their
remit was not to be inclusive of all southern countries in Africa, “[t]here has been no
attempt at comprehensiveness”(2014, vii). The precision of the geographical references
has also been revised for the fourth edition, with names given “latitude and longitude in
degrees, minutes and seconds, and the GPS coordinates following [where available] the
style of the Surveyor-General of South Africa”(2014, xxiii). The authors credit sources
such as GeoHack and Maplandia for further data not available from the Surveyor-
General (2014, xxiv).
The convention that “[o]fficially approved names are preceded with an asterisk”
(2004, xviii) has been dropped for the fourth edition. Reasons for this are not clearly
stated, but the preface notes that “the implementation of the South African Geographical
Names Council Act [ …] resulted in numerous new names being standardised”(2014,
vii). Therefore, readers should presumably infer that all names in the fourth edition are
standard names, or that flagging approved names is now unhelpful or unnecessary, given
the pace of standardization.
Completely new entries in the fourth edition include the following, which is particu-
larly indicative of the social and cultural changes undergone in South Africa in
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Post Office (EC 3425 BA; 34:00:00S,
25:40:00E; -33.9889183, 25.66995239). Post Office in the Port Elizabeth CBD
area. Named after the university which was named after the former State President.
Replaces the name UPE Post Office. (2014, 364)
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The inclusion of minor names associated with public services such as post offices is
atypical for national name dictionaries, which more usually focus on towns and cities.
Minor names are often of major local significance as sites of political contestation and
challenge, being highly visibility within the social and linguistic landscape. Their coverage
in the Dictionary therefore enhances the potential uses of the work as a research tool for
post-apartheid critical toponymy, as well as providing a higher level of detailed empirical
Standardization has led to several systematic changes in the forms of names with offi-
cial status, as is exemplified by the four entries for names taking the (now unofficial)
form Olifants River in the third edition (2004, 288), which, having been updated, are
now listed under the official spelling Olifantsrivier (2014, 391). Curiously, the names in
this group with the same etymology—directly from Afrikaans, translated as ‘elephant
river’—do not receive uniform treatment in the Dictionary. The entry for the
Olifantsrivier that is a tributary of the Limpopo informs the reader that “[t]he name is
Afrikaans and means ‘elephant (river)’. The river is known as Lepelle in Sotho, Balule in
Shangaan, and Libhalule in Swazi”(2014, 391). The entry for the Olifantsrivier that is a
camp in the Kruger National Park is explained as being “[n]amed after the Olifantsrivier
[i.e. the river], which in turn is named after Loxodonta Africana”(2014, 391).
Additionally, a newcomer to the fourth edition, the Olifantsrivier found in the Bohlabela
district, is explained as being coined in reference to “the occurrence of many elephants in
the area”, with a further intriguing note that “[t]he name Lepelle has been proposed as a
replacement”(2014, 391). Taken collectively, the information in these entries facilitates a
comprehensive picture of relevant linguistic connections, i.e., that Lepelle is a Sotho word
and that the Latin term for the relevant elephant species is Loxodonta africana, but the
reader is required to join the dots across the group, rather than having one explanation
cross-referenced to the others.
The expansion of the Dictionary has led to the inclusion of some names which at first
sight may be mistaken for doublets, but which differ significantly in their derivation and
remind the reader of the wide range of languages encountered in South African onomas-
tics. For example, in the third edition we encounter the following entry for the
Malebogo (FS 2825 CA). Township 2km from Boshof, at 28 33S, 25 14E. The
name is of Tswana origin and means ‘thanks’,‘gratitude’. (2004, 222)
This entry is retained in the fourth edition, where it is joined by a subsequent name
with the same spelling, but a notably different etymology:
Malebogo (FS 2825 CA; 28:32:21S, 25:14:17E; -28.539167, 25.23806). Township
2 km from Boshof. The name is of Tswana origin and means ‘thanks’,‘gratitude’.
Malebogo (Lim 2329 BB; 23:13:00S, 28:58:00E; -23.26610756, 29.06487656).
Post office 37 km west of Bochum. The name, derived from Northern Sotho, means
‘dangerous hand’. The inhabitants of the place killed many people using arrows
during wars. In the Free State (see above), the same name means ‘gratitude’(derived
from kalebogo). (2014, 297)
Introductions to dictionaries are notoriously ignored by the majority of users, but read-
ers of the Dictionary would be well advised to note the conventions and approaches
described therein. A case in point for international readers is the new note “D.”in the
“User guidelines”(xxiv). This explains that “[t]he term cognate is used in this Dictionary
in the sense of the definition given by Webster [i.e. Webster’s Third International
Dictionary (1961)], namely ‘related in a manner that involves borrowing rather than des-
cent from or as well as descent from an ancestral language’” (xxiv). This may shock or
BOOK REVIEWS 237
surprise readers from Britain and their ilk, acquainted with the quite opposite use of cog-
nate, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as: “Of languages: Descended from the
same original language; of the same linguistic family. Of words: Coming naturally from
the same root, or representing the same original word, with differences due to subsequent
separate phonetic development”(OED3, 2000, s.v. cognate adj. 2.a.). Caveat lector.
While the ongoing changes to names are likely to instigate further revised editions of
the important work, it is very timely that we now have the fourth edition with its thor-
oughly reworked coverage of South African names and its enhanced geographical detail.
This work showcases the onomastic wealth of Southern Africa, and the existence of the
four editions also provides an important repository of data marking a period of signifi-
cant cultural change.
OED3.2000-. Oxford English Dictionary. OED online, ed. Michael Proffitt. 3
ed. Oxford: Oxford
University Press. http://www.oed.com.
Raper, Peter Edmund. 1987.Dictionary of South African Place Names. Johannesburg: Lowry Publishers.
Raper, Peter Edmund. 1989.New Dictionary of South African Place Names. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball
Raper, Peter Edmund. 2004.New Dictionary of South African Place Names. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball
University of Salford, Manchester MAGGIE SCOTT
Naming Thy Name: Cross Talk in Shakespeare’s Sonnets.ByELAINE SCARRY. New York: Farrar,
Straus and Giroux. 2016. Pp. 291. $16.00. ISBN 9780374537234.
Naming Thy Name is another attempt to decipher the identity of the unnamed “beautiful
youth”present in Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1609). Without much ado, Elaine Scarry gives
her reader a name: Henry Constable (1562–1613), a poet and international diplomat said
to be highly considered by several monarchs, such as James IV of Scotland, but who also
spent years of his life in exile and in prison because of his religious devotion. “Carmen
xv,”one of his poems, is used as the opening of Scarry’s book to demonstrate that, even
if the name of Henry Constable does appear surreptitiously in Shakespeare’s works, as
she argues in Chapters 1, 4 and 6, one needs also to consider Constable’s writing in order
to observe the dialogic aspect of both men’s poems since they seem to reply to and/or
address each other. Indeed, Scarry uses available documentation, including letters and
reports, together with historical and biographical events in order to suggest that
Constable’s and Shakespeare’s poems should be read as evidence of “Henry Constable’s
place in Shakespeare’s heart”(7).
The first chapter of the book is devoted to the meticulous cryptographic analysis of
Shakespeare’s and Constable’s poems in which the names of both men are spelled out in
full. Scarry explains that the name of the beloved is visible in Shakespeare’s poems, either
embedded within a line (Sonnets 18, 65, 106) or closer to the surface (Sonnets 53 and
55). In Sonnet 106, the letters constituting the name Henry Constable appear almost in
the correct sequence: “Have EYes to woNdeR, But LaCk tONgueS To prAisE”(14). She
points out it would be unlikely that the name occurs by accident since another line –or
the very same line –announces the presence of the name: “But You shALl SHiNE more
Bright in these CONTEnts”(12). She also adds that no other name of Shakespeare’s con-
temporaries –such as Philip Sydney, Christopher Marlowe, or Edmund Spenser –can be
identified in the same way.
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