Vol. 55 No. 4 (2007)
Research Article

Names, Registration Plates and Identity

Published 2007-12-01



Provincial authorities in South Africa responsible for the licensing and registration of vehicles have introduced a system whereby vehicle owners can acquire a personalized or individualized registration plate. I look at the motivation for the choices that go onto the plates and argue that this phenomenon should be seen as an integral part of popular culture in South Africa, that such manifestations should be considered as names and therefore part of onomastics, and that the particular choice suggests a link to the preferred identity of the vehicle owner and provides a welcome alternative to the somewhat dull impersonal numerical option.


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