Mthethwa mulls Azania for SA
THE president of the African People’s Convention (APC), Themba Godi, says South Africa should have followed the model of Namibia and Zimbabwe, which, after gaining liberation, changed from their colonial names South- West Africa and Rhodesia, respectively.
The former PAC activist said the name South Africa came as a result of an agreement between the Dutch and British in 1910, of which the views of African people were excluded.
“The issue around the name of the country is not far fetched, and we know that from the late 1960s the name Azania was used by Azapo and the PAC. The APC support the name Azania,” he said.
Godi was responding to promises over the weekend by Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa that he would lobby the ANC to consider renaming the country.
The ANC is holding a policy conference at the end of the month in Joburg.
Mthethwa, who is a member of the ANC’s national executive committee, told party supporters during a cadres forum in Molweni township, west of Durban, on Sunday that South Africa was not the name of the country, but just “a geographical descriptive of where we are”.
He was responding to a local resident who called on the ANC to debate the issue of the country’s name during its national policy conference.
The resident, Bhekisisa Khanyeza, said it was unacceptable for the liberated country to continue with the colonial name.
“Please take the issue of the name to the national policy conference because the name is not ours,” Khanyeza said. Mthethwa, whose department is in charge of naming public places, said the ANC had never given itself time to think about the name of the country. “To tell the truth, the country does not have the name. It is not there.”
Some political parties such as the PAC and Azapo have been referring to South Africa as Azania, and they had been lobbying for a name change.
Mthethwa said although the government had made strides in changing the colonial names of some places, there was more to be done. He called on South Africans to assist in identifying improper names such as Durban and Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal.
“Benjamin D’urban named our place, eThekwini, after himself and called it Durban,” he said.
He had also recommended a name change of Empangeni, because “there is no such name in isiZulu. It used to be called Embangweni Wombuso wakwa Mthethwa (infighting over the chiefdom of Mthethwa clans).”
He pledged to take it up with the ANC