The City of Ekurhuleni is undergoing a process to change the name of the township Tembisa to Thembisa.

This is more of a spelling correction than a complete name change. Tembisa (now to be with an h) is a large township situated to the north of Kempton Park on the East of Gauteng in the Ekurhuleni Municipality.

The name Thembisa is a Nguni word meaning promise and hope. Tembisa was established in 1957 by the Afrikaner-dominated National Party. When the NP came into power in 1948 it began to implement the policy of racial segregation known as Apartheid. The racist government evicted black people from legally designated “white areas” of Edenvale, Germiston, Midrand and Kempton Park. Some black people were resettled from Alexandra.

When the Township was created it was a beacon of hope for those who were suddenly Homeless. The government of the day misspelled the township and named it Tembisa. Today they’re over 60 sections in Tembisa and its the second largest township in Gauteng after Soweto.

The City of Ekurhuleni will also change the names of Tokoza to Thokoza; Tsakane to Tsakani and KwaThema to Kwa-Thema.

The financial implications of the name changes were not clear at the time of publishing.

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