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Johannesburg International to Become OR Tambo International

Alert! As of next month (27 October, to be precise), Johannesburg International Airport will get a new name: OR Tambo International. The “OR” bit stands for “Oliver Reginald” – he was one of the African National Congress‘s greatest leaders, having worked with Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela to advance the cause of freedom for all in South Africa.

Not everyone’s happy with the new name, particularly as it flouts a policy established in 1996 by the very same ANC, to give only geographical names to major public sites like airports. (The logic being that politically-motivated naming will be subject to future political vagaries. For instance, Taiwan has just changed its airport’s name from Chiang Kai-shek to Taipei International.) It’s not certain if the airport’s code, currently “JNB” will change along with the name, but you can be sure that, whatever the official name, the term “Joburg International” will remain in entrenched in local parlance for many years to come!