A group of prominent Cape Town Christians are unhappy that a mountain at the centre of the city is named after the devil.
The movement to “rechristen” Devil’s Peak is gaining support, most noticeably from the African Christian Democratic Party – and soon a petition will be doing the rounds in Cape Town.
The group reportedly wants “Cape Town liberated from the demonic name” and believes “renaming the mountain would set a precedent for peace within the city”.
Western Cape ACDP leader Ferlon Christians said the name was an “insult” to Capetonians. He said the party supported the Mountain Name Change Campaign, whose members approached the Western Cape Geographical Names Committee about two weeks ago to propose a less “offensive” name.
Historical maps and documents show that the peak was previously referred to as Dove’s Peak or Duiwenkop. Because the “dove is the symbol of peace and unity” the campaigners settled on that name.
“We would like to motivate for a name that will symbolise what we strive for as a city and as a nation. This is especially significant when one considers that Table Mountain is regarded as one of the [new] seven wonders of the world,” campaign member Murray Bridgman said.
It is also often covered in a billow of clouds on a windy Cape Town day. To some this is nothing but geography with a bit of weather tossed on top but for others it forms the basis of one of South Africa’s most famous myths and legends.
Centred around a retired Dutch pirate, Jan van Hunks was an avid pipe smoker who apparently took on the devil back in the 1700s in a pipe-smoking showdown – causing the cloud now famously known as the Table Cloth.
Wikipedia states Devil’s Peak was originally known as Winderg or Charles Mountain. Alternative names offered by the group include reverting back to the original name of Dove’s Peak.
Wikipedia claims Devil’s Peak is “also a corruption of the original Dutch version Duifespiek (“Dove’s Peak”) to Duiwelspiek (“Devil’s Peak”).
This recent submission to the WCPGNC is not the first attempt by the group to get the name changed. A letter had previously been sent to President Nelson Mandela in 1996 requesting a name change and a formal application under the banner of Transformation Africa in 2012 was also submitted.
The campaign is set for a public launch in July.