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Published: 04-May-2021

Tshwane vs Pretoria

Anyone following closely might have noticed that in August 2019, FISA attributed the 2023 WRMR to ‘Pretoria, South Africa’, yet our logo launched under the name of ‘Tshwane, South Africa’. Here's the background.


Author: Colleen Orsmond

The name Tshwane may be new for our international audience and many people have asked us why the change, why not market the regatta under the more well-known name of Pretoria.

Transformation of place names in South Africa

Following South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, a process began to transform place names based on three main policy pillars: changing offensive place names (for example, places named after architects of apartheid), restoring the correct spelling of African place names that had become Anglicised or Afrikaanised, and changing place names that represented the history and values of colonialism and apartheid to reflect the new democratic dispensation. As part of this process, in 2005 the Metropolitan name was changed from Pretoria to Tshwane, and the name now refers to the city of Tshwane as well as the wider municipal district that is home to Roodeplaat Dam, the venue for the 2023 World Rowing Masters Regatta. You may still hear the name “Pretoria” in use but this only refers to the CBD.

Origin of the name Tshwane

There are many theories about the origin of the name Tshwane – from it being the name of the son of a pre-colonial headman who lived in the area, to the local words for ‘black cow’ and for ‘monkey’, which also gave rise to the name of the Apies River, ‘Apie’ being the Afrikaans word for monkey. However, the theory that resonates most strongly with us is ‘tshwane – Rea Tshwana’ as the Setswana word meaning ‘we are the same’. This is a positive message to the entire world: we are the same, no matter the colour of our skin, our religious beliefs or our political affiliations. It ties in beautifully to the African spirit of ‘Ubuntu’, the humanist philosophy that says ‘I am because you are’. This is the spirit of the 2023 World Rowing Masters Regatta in Tshwane, South Africa.

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World Rowing Masters Regatta 2023 in South Africa