Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has vowed to lobby the ANC’s National Executive Committee to find an “appropriate name” for South Africa, arguing that South Africa is not a name but a “a geographical description of where we are”.
According to a report in the The Mercury, Mthethwa was speaking to party supporters during a cadre’s forum on Sunday when he made the promise to find a new name for SA.
A report by BusinessTech.co.za says Mthethwa noted that the ANC had never given itself time to think about the name of the country, and that as his department had power to change the naming of public areas, there was now an opportunity to rename the entire country. The new name apparently need to be more reflective of the country’s past and its people.
Since 1994 the democratic government had made many changes to colonial names of places but Mthethwa says more can be done, particularly with regards to identifying improper names, such as Durban and Empangeni.
“To tell the truth, the country does not have a name. It is not there… Benjamin D’Urban named our place, eThekwini, after himself and called it Durban,” he said.
He said he had also recommended a name change for Empangeni because “there is no such name in the Zulu language.”
“The area used to be called Embangweni Wombuso wakwa Mthethwa (infighting over the chiefdom of Mthethwa clans),” he said.
Speaking to the Mercury, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said that the issue of the country’s name would be discussed when it was brought before the ANC and that the ANC had not taken any position on the matter.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlonzi says his party also did not support the current name of the country, but added that it would be “a futile exercise to rename a country that did not belong to you.”