David Sumpton (Mercury, August 31) is correct in stating that ships plying our waters in colonial times frequently had African names including the now offensive K-word.
The British Colonial Steam Navigation Company had several ships one of which was called the SS K-. It was a 2,736-ton steamer and regularly plied between Durban and ports in India. Clearly, its owners saw nothing untoward or offensive in the name they gave their ship or saw any distinction between that name and the other African names of their ships.
The Company regularly advertised the destinations of its ships in the colonial press which included the Natal Mercury. Attached is one such advertisement announcing a voyage of the S K departing from Durban on August 24, 1893. It appeared in the Mercury on August 21, 1893.
Sent into The Mercury and published, 1 September 2018.