Move to rename Devil’s Peak

Devil’s Peak…a new name has been proposed. (PHOTO: Barry Zwick blog)

What is in a name? A great deal according to a group of prominent Cape Town Christians who are not happy that the mountain in the middle of the city is named after the devil.

In a move that will be welcomed by many people who have been praying about this issue for years the group met with the Western Cape Provincial Geographical Names Committee (WCPGNC)  on Friday, May 30, and proposed the renaming of the mountain.

Scripture leaves no doubt that names are important and meaningful. In Genesis 2 we read that God gave Adam the task of naming “beasts of the field and every fowl of the air”; God renamed Abram who became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Jacob was called Israel and Saul became Paul. Isaiah prophesied that a virgin will bear a son and His name would be called Immanuel, meaning God with Us. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches…” One can write an article entirely focused on the meaning of names!

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Previous names
Devil’s Peak is not a good choice of names for the mountain that together with Table Mountain towers above Cape Town. Nor has it always been the name chosen for the peak. The mountain has, in fact, had a long list of names. A drawing in the journal of traveler and author, Sir Thomas Herbert, which is dated 1638, shows the peak named Herbert’s Mount; a  map dated 1657-1660 indicates the name as “Windberg / Duiwekop”; and in 1675 it was called King Charles Mount by English map and chart seller, John Sellar. Other names given to the peak include, inter alia, Blase Baltch and Mont du Vent (around 1691), and The Sugar Loaf (around 1777). A legend about an 17th century Dutch pirate who, whilst sitting on the mountain one day, got into a smoking competition with a stranger, who later revealed himself as the devil, resulted in the mountain being renamed Devil’s Peak.  The story of Van Hunks was recorded by Ian D Colvin in The Romance of South Africa. There are also oral records of an indigenous name //Hui !Gaeb, which means ‘Place where the clouds gather’.

In recent years many individuals and groups have ascended the mountain with flags and banners to pray and petition God for guidance and help with regard to the renaming of the mountain. There is a recorded attempt of a letter being sent to former President Nelson Mandela in 1996 requesting a name change, as well as other similar attempts since then with little or no success.

In 2011, a group of Christians came together and decided to unite their efforts and submit a formal application to the WCPGNC, which subsequently took place under the banner of Transformation Africa in 2012. Transformation Africa was the name given to the initiative in 2001 that has culminated in the annual Global Day of Prayer. A process of consultation was meant to follow but, for various reasons, failed to get off the ground.  Prayers for the renaming have, however, continued without fail.

The presentation to the WCPGNC was a milestone reached for the group of individuals who have led this cause in recent years, including Director of Cape Peninsula Transformation Africa and CCFM Station Manager, Rev. Barry Isaacs; Cape Town Advocate, Murray Bridgman; Leader of Friends from Abroad, Ashley Cloete; Head of Prowess Investments, Maditsaba Moloko; and businessman and founder of NEMO SA and the Red Dot for Unity, Marcel Durler.

Dove’s Peak
The appeal to the Committee was clear: Cape Town must be liberated from the demonic name; renaming the mountain would set a precedent for peace within the city and beyond; and one of the original names of the mountain, namely, Dove’s Peak (Duiwenkop) must be reinstated. For most people, irrespective of their spiritual persuasion, the symbolism of the proposed name is clear – PEACE. For many Christians, the symbolism extends to that of the Holy Spirit and God’s anointing.

The next phase of the campaign will see a public launch during July and an extensive consultation process with communities, business, government and other stakeholders.


  1. amen. and by the power of our Lord and Savior Yeshua it will be renamed.

  2. ChristopherBlackwell

    Would not solving the many problems of the society be more useful. We see a trend of using symbolism instead of action. Work on the poverty, lack of education, solving the corruption, getting the economy started, more jobs into the area, and take care of the many health issues. All of this is more important than renaming a mountain. “By their deeds ye shall know them.”

  3. I agree and give my support, the name devils peak is a curse and put a demonic stronghold over the city

  4. Angie Kalengayi

    @ Christopher Blackwell, you are definitely correct, but in order to do all that, the renaming should come first. That will then change the spiritual atmosphere over Cape Town, and create one that is godly. Where the Spirit of God is, there is liberty. Liberty from joblessness, poverty, poor infrastructure, sickness and immorality. May God fulfil and answer the prayers of his saints. Amen

  5. May the Lord grant you absolute favour in having the name changed. I agree that this will affect the spirit realm which will in turn bring a new peace and freedom to this beautiful city.

  6. Hi Anthea
    You are correct about this name change. Our society has deteriorated spiritually to the point that naming things after “Satan” seems to be the sensation that is wanted and accepted as the norm. We see in our business that the name of “Satan” be worn on peoples clothes and permanently tattooed on their human bodies.
    We have to pray that people be convicted by the Holy Spirit to accept The Lord Jesus Christ as savior.
    So I will pray with you that this “landmark” in Cape Town will have a name change. This mane must not come for the sake of Christians in the town but so that “Satanic’ stronghold it creates can be broken and as was already commented there will be peace in the City.

  7. What? This is insane, bordering on superstition! It’s name doesn’t render it demonic, nor does it give undue influence to the enemy. Why waste time, energy and resources on this when the Church should be making a difference in real issues.

    “Let your light shine before all men, let them see your good deeds and glorify our Father in Heaven.” – Jesus

    I have no idea how this endeavour even remotely will glorify God in the presence of non-believers.

  8. “One can write an article entirely focused on the meaning of names!”

    One can write more articles on why, as Christians, we’re free from needing to worry about names. The heart is what matters, not names. Renaming the peak won’t do anything and won’t absolve any of us from doing the actual, real, work of God – namely, love and mission. It’s through that work that things change, not the work of changing a mountain’s name.

    The name of the mountain isn’t what’s preventing change in the city – it’s Christians not doing what God’s called us to actually do that’s preventing change in the city. We can talk about “Satanic Strongholds” all we want but that doesn’t absolve us from the Great Commission, which mentions nothing about changing the names of landmarks.

    Change the hearts of people first.

  9. This is an appalling waste of God’s time and money. Imagine if the resources / prayer time you spend on this name-change were spent on evangelising the city? Angie, your comment about spiritual atmosphere is totally not based in scripture. Christ’s saving power is more powerful than any silly name of a mountain. This belies all the amazing evangelistic efforts of the past, can God not work anywhere and under any circumstance? Are you suggesting that before we can reach Thailand for Christ we have to rename all their Buddhist-related names? I tell you what, you guys spend your energy / time / money renaming mountains, but please also pray for the rest of us who are preaching the Gospel of Christ directly to those that need to hear it, not withholding from them because they live near some random mountain.

    • James, Ryan and Bruce; I couldn’t agree more. Must we waste our time indulging in superstition? Are we Animists or Christians?

      • I must say, some of your behaviour and the way you respond to each other is not a great testimony to outsiders looking in. “By your love for each other they will know you are Christians”. You guys mostly have the right idea of doing good work but we gotta work on our unity first before God will use us in greater things. Let’s be a house of unity and watch Him pour out His blessing. If we can change the mountains name, great. Many of God’s people change and added names to people and places as a proclamation of God’s blessing and favour, totally scriptural. And no worries if it doesn’t change since our battle is not against the physical but the spiritual. So let’s keep our energy and focus on the right stuff, love God and love people, Jesus said then you will fulfil the law. Love u all and let’s keep the tone on a good testimony level since the world is looking to us for the answer.

  10. There are many Christians in Cape Town who are making a glorious difference in the city through ministry to the poor and oppressed, and who are serving their neighbours and community well in many different ways. In the previous week’s edition we reported on two ministries that have been doing awesome social upliftment ministry in Cape Town for decades — Beautiful Gate and Jabulani Africa Ministries. There is no justification for suggesting that support for changing of the mountain’s name is at the cost of mission and evangelism. I know for a fact that some of those who are behind this initiative are involved in the trenches in sharing the Gospel in hard areas in Cape Town. They are also committed intercessors who believe, based on their understanding of Scripture and their experience, that geographical names do make a difference.

  11. Good grief! Are you seriously suggesting that the name is in anyway important to Jesus? You quote Old Testament passages. Jesus himself couldn’t have cared less about names: Matthew 7.16-26 Since when are Christians so afraid of a name????

  12. I think we Christians need to put our insecurities aside and focus on our own lives and how they live it, instead of worrying about trivial things like names! The name of Devils Peak is in No way going to effect the way God judges you one day! Stop wasting your precious life and time on rubbish and go do as God has commanded you, and that is to live your life as good as humanly possible!

    • It’s not just about a name, but also about mountains and speaking of words. Mountains represent places of authority, of rulership and influence over a sphere of society e.g. God’s mountain Zion which is His seat of authority (Is.2). People in occult practices understand this and that is why they often set up altars on high places and why we “wrestle against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ef.6:12) amongst others. Every time someone says the name they actually confirm who it belongs to and who rules there, i.e. it is a declaration into the spirit realm. And, yes, names are very important to God. Every biblical place and person name has a specific significance and is not just there to fill pages, but we need to dig deeper to get the full picture. And then, of course, there is the One who has a Name above every other name, Our Messiah and Bridegroom to be. That is why it is important to change it AND also be the salt and light on the ground. Neither has to be at the expense of the other.

  13. As a pastor in the City Bowl I must say that this approach to standing for the cause of Christ deeply concerns me. Not only do I think that it displays theologically confused thinking, but I also think it unnecessarily makes Cape Town Christians an object of ridicule. I have no doubt there are good intentions behind this, but I fear they are misguided intentions that could end up doing more harm than good as well as take time, energy, and effort away from more effective service to Christ in our city. I would welcome any push back from those involved if you want more clarification regarding my criticism. You can post comments on my FB thread: (

  14. @ Johan – there is a theological concern here, which is why some guys have responded as they have, because they feel this sort of thing hinders the Gospel and actually works against what it is you are probably trying to achieve.

    Ephesians 6:12 does not support the case at all. I don’t know what version of the Bible you are quoting, but the correct word / phrase is ‘heavenly realms’ not high places (Greek: epouranios). Look it up, you’ll see. Also, the verse actually works against you – it is speaking of spiritual wickedness in spiritual (heavenly) places, not physical / material places.

    Secondly, mountains may have represented places of authority in the Old Testament but it is metaphorical and poetic and prophetic and based on several cultural factors. This is clear given that whenever Zion is mentioned it in a poetic / Psalm / prophecy context. One has to be careful with prophecy as it uses picture language (unless you really believe a physical beast will one day rise out of the physical sea as Revelation speaks of). This does not mean that God has ordained that mountains carry some sort of spiritual power over valleys or other places on the earth. Occult people may think that, but that’s because their beliefs are not based on the Bible but based on the occult.

    Because people in the occult put up wicked altars on hills and mountains it doesn’t mean we are to do the same thing but say ours are ‘good’ altars. This is like trying to sanctify an occult practice. People in the occult do many other things too and we should obviously not do them either. This is actually the concern and why many Christians view this sort of thing as superstitious – it looks like we are saying that there is value to the occult and we need to oppose it by doing the same things, but just differently. That is, however, bringing the occult into the Church (this is why many deliverance ministries actually do more harm than good) and making as if the occult really does have power over the Gospel and the only way to break it is by counter-acting it in some physical way.

    What confuses me is the amount of Christians who scoff at Catholic Holy Water but insist that high places are somehow holy, or that words have some kind of mystical power. At the risk of coming across too strongly, both Holy water and this 80’s-borne Spiritual Warfare theology really has the same superstitious sort of foundation.

    There are plenty of cases of cities that actually have crosses or even statues of Jesus in the highest place of that city, yet those cities are as far as away from the light as can be. Why is that? Well, because its about the heart, not about high places.

    I like that you quoted about how Jesus is the name above all names. Yes, he is, which is why a name cannot change the power of the Gospel. If the Church was preaching the Gospel then the city would change – but if the Church is preaching Spiritual Warfare and superstition, then it is just another version of whatever is out there.

    Unfortunately, my experience with this (and I do have a lot of experience) is that this sort of thing only distracts and that the real work of the Gospel does suffer. People love this sort of stuff but it just distracts from what God is really wanting us to do.

    I realise this may not be the forum for theology so anyone is welcome to engage me at my website (just click on my name) and contact me directly if they want this discussed. My reaction is based on years of seeing this sort of thing going on again and again and seeing too many Christians hurt by it and sidetracked by it, forgetting the Gospel and relenting from the Great Commission. That’s why I have spoken up here.

  15. You do realize that the original namers of the mountain peaks named them allegorically to remind them of biblical figures. Devil’s Peak, Lion’s Head (Jesus is referred to as the The Lion of Judah in Revelations, as King David and Jesus belonged to the tribe of Judah), and the Twelve Apostles

  16. This is one of the most absurd ideas that I think anyone has ever come up with. The Bible talks about peoples souls, not names of geological areas. Do you really think that changing something exterior to anyone will reflect on the individuals personal journeys?

    What ever happened to Pay Caesar’s Things to Caesar and God’s things to God? You really thing that starts and stops at coins. It means all material things, including mountain peaks.

    If Hitler lived to a town named Dove, would you think it would have made him a better person?

    Stop wasting time rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and concentrate on being as good a person as you can be.

  17. Do any of you that are punting this name change realise that changing the name of Devil’s Peak will cost MILLIONS! Money that could be much better spent helping the jobless and hungry.
    Please, use your efforts practically.
    Do you really think that a starving homeless man gives a hoot about the name of the mountain?
    I wonder, do you think that he would prefer the name of a hunk of rock to be changed, or to be given a bowl of hot food and warm dry clothes? Hmmm, difficult choice, no??
    Receiving Good Christian Kindness goes a lot further towards saving a man’s soul and restoring his faith in both mankind and God than changing the name of a mountain peak…

  18. This is ridiculous and I really think that there are more important things that can be discussed and changed. Things that can save lives… I work and live in this area and I feel blessed and happy every day – no demons under my feet! Reading this makes me not want to call myself a christian anymore. Absolutely ridiculous!
    Ps. read the actual meaning behind the name.

  19. A waste of time and energy. Amen.

  20. Names must be changed to good names not devlish and demonic names.
    The devil is a looser, that name shal not remain becoz his time has ended. Change the name.

  21. A name only has the power you give it. I was raised christian and know the Devil to be evil, but I was also raised in Cape Town, under devils peak. Not once in my entire life have I ever thought Devils Peak to be evil, to me it has always been a scenic landmark in our beautfiul city – I now live Abroad and whenever someone mentions Devils Peak, I am reminded of good memories of living in cape town with a stunning backdrop – That is the power I give the name, and I believe most Capetonians do too. I do not give the name the power of evil.

    On a side not: Bit dissapointed to see the author write from a Christian perspective and not a neutral one.

  22. I grew up with my Granny in Devil’s Peak and it was the happiest time of my life. The area is and always will be a slice of heaven to me :0)

  23. Why does our Country always want to change names of places?

    Let it stay Devil’s Peak.

  24. I think Satan would like nothing better than for us to forget all about him. >:)

  25. I was thinking, how about The Angel’s Peak instead ? you better adopt it. Life is about optimism at bay !

  26. Sorry I cannot agree with some of your comments.Surely its obvious by the name ‘Devil’s Peak’ which derived from the Basarwa name -Gauwai Hoerikwaggo- meaning Satan’s Pinnacle (see Tricksters and Trancers: Bushman Religion and Society By Mathias Georg Guenthe), that there is some evil force attributed to this part of the Table Mountain range. As you you walk around the area at night you can feel the evil permeating down from the mountainside. Years gone by it was not so evident, however lately with the increase in the interest in Satanism within our society- which encourages and promotes fornication, drug and substance abuse and other iniquitous lifestyles- the atmosphere in the streets at night is theurgy. I do not venture into that part of the city by myself after dark and I suppose would only do so in a crowd to spread the Lords message with His protection. I pray everyday to our Savior that he cleanses our loved City of Cape Town from the evil forces of Devil’s Peak. By changing the name would certainly be the first step in restoring the area to what God had in mind when He created the beautiful and iconic landscape of the Cape of Good Hope and its surrounds. Amen

  27. Grant Hendriksz

    The name has no religious context whatsoever. With an atheist government in power, your plight is going to fall on deaf ears anyway.