However, the name Mafadi originates from the original Basutoland colonial series 1:50 000 topographical map produced in 1961 (called Makheka 2929AB: RSA equivalent is Champagne Castle). The name is derived logically from geographic descriptors: It is common to name a peak for the river from whose mountain source it springs which is true in this case, and furthermore, Mafadi in Sesotho means “those audible from a distance” as the river contains rapids and a waterfall 6 meters high that plunge off the mountain, creating a faraway noise. Furthermore, there is a host of South African sources verifying the Lesotho origins of Mafadi in their 1940’s and 1950’s accounts on top of the Drakensberg. In short, it makes complete sense that this Lesotho peak is called Mafadi.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the current South African “Mafadi” which has no namesake river, no waterfalls, nor noise eminences associated with it. Most Drakensberg peaks have very transparent and recorded cultures, histories and geographic identities associated with them. “Mafadi” is truly a glaring exception. It gets worse. The actual questionnaire completed in 1969 that was used to name “Mafadi” was sent to me (see download link in this website) explaining that the origins of “Mafadi” are “mother of Fadi”. So the highest peak in South Africa is accorded to be the mother of someone named Fadi (!) By the same logic one would call the former President of SA “Mandela” because he is the “mother of Ndela”. This appears to be a spurious work of cartography that carries no connotations or linkages to this particular peak. There once was a peak in need of a name and “Mafadi” was grabbed and erroneously explained by expediency. It is hard to understand the machinations behind this.
Fortunately there is a definitive name more suitable, found on the Lesotho map assigned in 1982, for the “Mafadi” of South Africa, but called Ntheledi, meaning “make me slip”. It is suggested that this comes from the stream flowing northwards off its summit (to join the Injasuti River), offering a difficult descent from the Escarpment.
“Mafadi” is of dubious derivation for SA’s highest and should be changed, possibly to Ntheledi, a verifiable name, and not remain a borrowed or contrived label. This is a laughing stock matter for a significant piece of landscape and one which should be accounted for. See the 4 page download link and attachment in this website for a complete exposition and let the facts speak for themselves.
The method to change names lies with the South African Geographical Names Council Database whose website link is:
and contact is:
Kingsley Centre, 481 Church Street, Cnr Beatrix and Church Street, Arcadia, Pretoria
Private Bag X897, Pretoria, 0001
Tel 012 441 3679
The South African Geographical Names Council Act of 1998 is also attached.
To change South African history and make its highest peak nomenclaturally correct and relevant would be a great Drakensberg accomplishment, particularly if there is a groundswell of approval behind it. To this end I hope to initiate a “Mafadi” Awakening and restore at least a small piece of logic and reason to a mountain range full of myths, mystiques, inventions and plain inaccuracies. Suggestions and feedback are encouraged to rectify this mapping misjudgement.