Mthethwa mulls Aza­nia for SA

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - BON­GANI HANS

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

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