Endangered Tshivenḓa Names around Ṱhohoyanḓou in Limpopo South Africa

  • Matodzi Raphalalani University of Venda, South Africa
  • Thomas Sengani Independent


Since the establishment of Ṱhohoyanḓou (a town in Venḓa in the Vhembe district) in 1979 by the Venḓa Homeland government, new sections were identified through labels such as P-East and P-West, F and G. The process continued with the establishment of the Thulamela Municipality under the new democratic government, with more sections carrying more labels such as H, J, K, M, C, D and many more. With the municipality expanding, village names in and around the town have either been wiped out completely or replaced by new names. This is a result of the fast growth of the town in all aspects, which has resulted in the encroachment into village life, villages being engulfed with and the elimination and substitution of names. Using the Critical Discourse Analysis and Critical Eco-Linguistics theories, this article intends to highlight how dominance, control and abuse of power by the municipality have led to cases of linguistic, social and cultural impoverishment and disempowerment. Furthermore, the article demonstrates that the elimination of Tshivenḓa village names in the fast-developing town of Ṱhohoyanḓou is destroying valuable information, which could be used for the creation of knowledge for current and future generations.