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This reminded me of an old blog post of mine regarding Windhoek's street names...

(NB: a friend who's a philosophy professor filled me in on who Leibniz was....)


There are, naturally, a number of main roads named after Namibian heroes from the anti-colonial and independence struggles: Hosea Kutako Drive, Hendrik Witbooi Drive, and of course Sam Nujoma Drive.

A few major roads are named after foreigners: Robert Mugabe Avenue intersects with both Nelson Mandela Avenue and Fidel Castro Street. Way on the other side of town is Mahatma Gandhi Street. And Laurent Desire Kabila is in the opposite direction. Hmmm. That has to mean something.

But the neighborhoods are where the street names get really interesting. There are plenty of German and Afrikaans names that mean little or nothing to me. But then you start to see themes...

One neighborhood has streets named after composers: Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, Puccini, Mahler, Bach.

An area nearby has constellations and celestial bodies: Aries, Hercules, Taurus, Libra, Hydra, Mercury, Andromeda, Perseus.

There's the obligatory African-game neighborhood, with Eland, Gnu, Springbok, Impala and Eland streets. Then there's a different kind of game a little further south, where Eland meets Rugby Street, which intersects with Cricket, Netball and Softball streets.

The first street-theme I noticed was in a neighborhood called Academia, near the university campus. The streets of Academia are all named after philosophers, although I have to confess that I don't recognize them all. Leibniz? Who's that?

I spent a few minutes trying to figure out if there was some kind of grand theory behind the street plan. Is there a reason why Darwin intersects with Plato and Aristotle but not with Locke or Aquinas? Aquinas meets Sartre but not Voltaire. Socrates ends at Bacon. Plato turns into Jasper somewhere. Hume is nowhere near Hegel.

I can't make any sense out of it.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 01:23:20 PM EST
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