Eponymic Place Names in Zambia: A Critical Toponymies Perspective

  • Cheela Chilala University of Zambia
  • Khama Hang’ombe University of Zimbabwe
Keywords: Eponymic Place Names, Critical Toponymies Theory, Zambia, Social Conflict and Power Imbalance


This study examines eponymic place names in Zambia, specifically focusing on names of international airports and national stadia. Names of these features have been selected for study because in 2011, they had been subjected to changes. The study brings out the doubled nature of this name change by the Patriotic Front regime: to commemorate Zambia’s heroes and to entrench their political stamina. To successfully bring out the double edged nature of place name change by the Patriotic Front regime, the study engages Critical Toponymies Theory, a theory which considers place names as social artefacts which are caught up in a web of social conflict, implicating them as key players in (re)producing unequal socio-political power balance, an aspect which can be viewed as a social problem. The study argues that names of key national places or features in Zambia, banal and mundane as they may appear, are implicated in formulating and perpetuating social classes and power imbalance in the country because they are agents that promote the ideologies, aspirations and worldview of the ruling elites.
How to Cite
Chilala, C. and Hang’ombe, K. (2020) “Eponymic Place Names in Zambia: A Critical Toponymies Perspective”, Journal of Law and Social Sciences, 3(1), pp. 81-92. doi: https://doi.org/10.53974/unza.jlss.3.1.442.