Previous congresses of the NSSA

The first congress of the Names Society was held in 1982, the year after the society was formed. It was held over two days at the then University of Natal on the Durban campus, and attracted 21 speakers, including Dr Peter E Raper, Mrs Lucie Möller, and Mr Adrian Koopman, all three of whom were still attending and presenting papers at onomastic congresses and symposia nearly thirty years later. The list that follows shows when and where subsequent congresses were held, and the number of papers that were read. Congress programmes in the NSA Archives give the details of the persons presenting papers but do not, alas, give the total number of people actually attending the congress.

2nd Congress: Pretoria in 1983: 24 papers
3rd Congress: Windhoek in 1985: 26
4th Congress: Stellenbosch in 1987: 26
5th Congress: Mmabatho, Bophuthatswana, in 1989: 22
6th Congress: Berg-en-Dal camp, Kruger National Park, in 1991: 33
7th Congress: San Lameer Holiday Resort, Natal South Coast, in 1993:33
8th Congress: Pretoria, in 1995: 14
9th Congress: University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg in 1996: 41
10th Congress: Hermanus, Western Cape, in 1998:  28
11th Congress: at the University of Port Elizabeth, in 2000: 17
12th Congress: at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, in 2002: 22
13th Congress: in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2004: 19
14th, the 25th Anniversary Congress: at Ntshondwe Camp in the Ithala Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal in 2006: 27
15th Congress: University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, in 2009
16th Congress: Club Mykonos, Langebaan, Western Cape, in 2010
17th Congress: Mohale Lodge, Lesotho, in 2012
18th Congress: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, in 2014
19th Congress: Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 2016
20th Congress: Polokwane, South Africa, in 2018

As can be seen from the comparatively small number of papers presented, these congresses are small enough for most congress delegates to be able to meet with each other over the course of the congress. It is seldom that parallel sessions are needed, and when this is necessary, there are never more than two parallel sessions. NSA congresses typically draw most of the delegates from southern African countries, with South Africa’s neighbours Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique and Swaziland invariably contributing to the programme. Of recent years more and more international delegates have attended NSA congresses, and Professor Willy van Langendonck of Belgium, the international doyen of onomastic theory, has been a regular attender since the congress in Maputo in 2004.