Volume 8, Issue 3, May 2020, Page: 88-99
School Names in Selected Districts in Southern Province of Zambia: A Critical Toponymies Perspective
Khama Hang’ombe, Department of African Languages and Literature, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Emmanuel Chabata, African Languages Research Institute, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Zvinashe Mamvura, African Languages Research Institute, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe; Department of African Languages, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Received: Mar. 8, 2020;       Accepted: Apr. 13, 2020;       Published: May 12, 2020
DOI: 10.11648/j.ijll.20200803.11      View  92      Downloads  67
Studies have exposed place names as embodiments of the history, identity, culture, and language of their bestowers. Whilst this is true, some place naming practices reflect hegemonic tendencies that have not received adequate scholarly attention, especially in Zambia. This study examines school names in four districts in the Southern Province of Zambia and exposes the hegemonic slant inherent in place naming. The names examined in this study were collected from the Provincial Educational Offices. The names fall into two categories; government and private school names. These names were couched on Critical Toponymies Theory, a theory which politicises place naming and place names. The study found out that there is a toponymic hegemony in both categories of school names. The study argues that toponymic hegemony, as is shown in the study sample, is a manifestation of the dominance of the history, culture, world view, and identity or at least of the interests of the people who named the schools. It is concluded that place names, mundane as they may appear, are embroiled in the (re)production of unequal social power balance.
Toponymic Hegemony, Southern Zambia, Critical Toponymies Theory
To cite this article
Khama Hang’ombe, Emmanuel Chabata, Zvinashe Mamvura, School Names in Selected Districts in Southern Province of Zambia: A Critical Toponymies Perspective, International Journal of Language and Linguistics. Vol. 8, No. 3, 2020, pp. 88-99. doi: 10.11648/j.ijll.20200803.11
Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Lull, James. A Cultural Studies Approach to Media: Theory. Colombia: Columbia University Press: 1995: 33.
Gramsci, Antonio. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Translated and edited by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith. New York: International Publishers: 1971.
Lears, T. Jackson. The concept of cultural hegemony: Problems and possibilities. The American, Historical Review, 90 (1985): 567–593.
Eriksen, H. Thomas. Linguistic Hegemony and Minority Resistance. Journal of Peace Research, 29.3 (1992): 313-332.
Hui, H. L. Dennis. Geopolitics of Toponymic Inscription in Taiwan: Toponymic Hegemony, Politicking and Resistance. Geopolitics, No volume number, 2017: 1-28.
Kovács, Eva. On the historical source value of toponyms: Toponyms as a source for the reconstruction of ethnic relations. Namenkundliche Informationen, 103/104 (2014): 480-490.
Horsman, Stuart. The Politics of Toponyms in the Pamir Mountains. Area, 38.3 (2006): 279 291.
Saparov, Arseny. 2003. The Alteration of Place Names and Construction of National Identity in Soviet Armenia. Cahiers du Monde russe, 44.1 (2003): 179-198.
Ainiala, Terhi. Place Names and Identities: The Uses of Names of Helsinki. Oslo Studies in Language, 4.2 (2012): 7-16.
Wafer, Jim. Placenames as a guide to language distribution in the Upper Hunter, and the landnám problem in Australian toponomastics, in Clark, D. I, Hercus, L. and Kostanski, L. (eds) Indigenous and Minority Placenames. Australia: ANU Press, 2014: 212-224.
Donada, T. Joan & Reinoso, S. Alexis. Toponyms as ‘landscape indicators’. Onomàstica: No Volume Number, 2014: 1987-2016.
Light, Duncan & Young, Craig. Toponymy as Commodities: Exploring the Economic Dimensions of Urban Place Names. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, No volume number, 2014: 435-450.
Central Statistical Office. 2010 Census of Population and Housing National Analytical Report. Lusaka, Zambia: 2012.
Zambia. The Constitution of the Republic of Zambia Act 2. Lusaka: Government printers: 2016.
Ohannessian, Sirarpi & Kashoki, E. Mubanga. (eds). Language in Zambia. London: International African Institute, 1978.
Marten, Lutz & Kula, Nancy. Zambia: ‘One Zambia, One Nation, Many Languages’, in Simpson, A. (ed). Language and National Identity in Africa. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008: 291-313.
Nkolola-Wakumelo, Mildred. Language and Good Governance in Zambia: The Situation and Considerations. Paper presented at National Workshop to Review the Broadcasting Policy in Zambian Languages and Language-in-Education Policy in Zambia in Lusaka, Zambia, 2007: 1-24.
Bowen, A. Glenn. Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method. Qualitative Research Journal, 9.2 (2009): 27-40.
Tent, Jan. Approaches to Research in Toponymy. Names, 63.2 (2015): 65–74.
Hagen, Joshua. 2011. Theorizing scale in critical place-name studies. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 10.1 (2011): 23–27.
Howitt, Richard. Scale as relation: Musical metaphors of geographical scale. Area, 30.1 (1998): 49 58.
Medway, Dominic & Warnaby, Garry & Gillooly, Leah & Millington, Steve. Scalar tensions in urban toponymic inscription: the corporate (re)naming of football stadia. Urban Geography, No volume number, 2018: 1-21.
Rose-Redwood, Reuben & Alderman, Derick. 2011. Critical Interventions in Political Toponymy. An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 10.1 (2011): 5, 1-6.
Mandana, Kolahdouz. An Ecolinguistic Approach Regarding Toponyms in Iran and India. Paper presented at Regional Dimensions of Social Development in India: Policy Perspectives conference in Februay, 2017: 1-13.
Nash, Joshua. 2015. Placenames and Ecolinguistics: Some Considerations for Toponymists. AAA – Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik, 40, 2015: 66-71.
Thelwell, Michael. Duties, pleasures, and conflicts: Essays in struggle. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1987.
Papanek. L. John. African Americans, voices of triumph: Leadership. Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1994: 186.
Alderman, H. Derick. 2008. Place, Naming, and the Interpretation of Cultural Landscapes, in Graham, B. and Howard. P. (eds) The Ashgate Research Companion to Heritage and Identity. City unknown: Ashgate, 2008: 195-213.
Browse journals by subject