It is not a typographical error, and it has caused a linguistic storm in coastal Luderitz, where some residents of the Namibian town are protesting plans to change its name to !Nami#nus. Yahoo! News reports:
The name, proposed by some local officials and tribal authorities, incorporates click-like sounds in the language spoken by the Nama ethnic group in the southern African nation. Those sounds are often represented in written form with punctuation symbols.
But Luderitz resident Crispin Clay said the proposed name could hurt Luderitz’s ability to attract international tourists and might not be recognized by computers and websites.
“Nobody’s quite certain how to pronounce or how to spell it,” said Clay, noting that a slight mispronunciation of !Nami#nus sounds like a derogatory term for a woman in the local language.
The move to change the name of Luderitz, named after a German colonizer who died in 1886, dovetails with a wider drive in Africa to shed lingering symbols of white rule and reinforce national and indigenous identities.