Xhosa: Theme 6 - Transportation and Finding Your Way

Previous greetings and courtesies | asking for help, emergencies | numbers, days, months, seasons | question words, quantities, weather and time | banks, taxis and restaurants | transportation and finding your way | touring and socializing | at the filling station | the human body and ailments | shopping and sport Next

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Place names

In South Africa, two kinds of place names may be distinguished: traditional African place names and English or Afrikaans place names.  Most of the bigger towns and cities have English or Afrikaans names; however, these places are also given names by the Xhosa people.  For example, Johannesburg is known as iRhawuti  in Xhosa; Cape Town as eKapa; Port Elizabeth as eBhayi; Pietermaritzburg as eMgungundlovu; Durban as eThekwini and so on.

As you would have noticed, in Xhosa we mostly use the prefix e- in front of a place name to indicate location, e.g. ikhaya (home)  > ekhaya (at home),  ibhanki  (bank)  > ebhanki (at the bank), eGemistoni (at / to Germiston), eCeasars Palace (at / to Ceasars Palace), eKempton Park (at / to Kempton Park). However, kwa- can also be used as prefix, e.g. Ndiya kwaZulu Natal (I’m going to kwaZulu Natal). Sometimes a prefix and suffix can be used to indicate location, e.g. Siya eposini namhlanje (We go to the post office today), Ndiya emdlalweni (I’m going to the game).

Please feel free to exchange any of the place names in the table above for place names of your choice.