South Africa Or Azania?

The South African Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, has triggered nationwide public debate with his suggestion that the country’s name be changed to Azania. He has argued since the name South Africa is a geographical expression, it ought to be changed like most other former colonized countries did upon attaining independence.

However, polls taken with respect to weather the country’s name be changed or not indicate that majority of South Africans are against the name change. For instance, a Twitter poll indicated that 62% of respondents are against the name change while 25% asked for a cogent reason why the name should be changed.

Name change for countries especially upon gaining independence in the 60s and 70s for African countries is common.

Some African countries that changed their names upon independence include – Zimbabwe (formerly South Rhodesia), Zambia (formerly North Rhodesia), Mozambique (formerly Portuguese East Africa), Botswana (formerly Bechuanaland), Burundi, Rwanda & Tanzania (German East Africa), Mauritania, Gambia, Senegal, Niger, Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso & Benin (formerly French West Africa)

Imagine refering South African to Azania. If I were a South African, I would prefer the old name ‘South Africa’ because it sounds more grand and iconic. What is the meaning of the term ‘Azania’ to start with? Whatever.