Analysis

South Africa Must Fall, Azania Must Rise

Nkosinathi Mahala Calls For A Name Change

South Africa’s First Democratic Elections

The date of the Union of South Africa on 31 May 1910 marks the 108th anniversary of the entrenchment of colonialism on this Azanian country by white settler colonialists.

It was following the defeat of the Boers in the Anglo–Boer war or South African War (1899–1902), that the white, colonial settler oppressors decided to create the Union of South Africa as a dominion of the British Empire in terms of which they amalgamated the four previously separate British colonies: Cape ColonyNatal ColonyTransvaal Colony, and Orange River Colony 

By the end of the 19th century, the indigenous people of South Africa had lost most of their political and economic independence and the post-war systems left the Africans, Coloured and Indian people completely marginalised. The authorities imposed harsh taxes and reduced wages, while the British caretaker administrator encouraged the immigration of thousands of Chinese to undercut any resistance by African mineworkers. African, Coloured and Indian resentment of government policies exploded in various rebellions and protests, but the British moved ahead with their plans for union.

The Bambatha rebellion for example, was a notable response by Africans to the sheer exploitation by colonialists when they decided to introduce a Poll Tax. Chief Bhambatha kaMancinza, resisted colonial measures imposing a poll tax on his subjects in addition to the hut tax. The poll tax was raised from a tax per hut to per head (£1 tax on all native men older than 18 – infamously called ukhandampondo) and thereby increasing hardship during severe economic depression.

The years that followed would be marked by more rebellion, formations of political parties and further mass mobilization against colonial rule, which in turn were met with sheer brutality by colonialists.

Land dispossession, the litany of apartheid laws meant to deny the African their rights and dignity, the Sharpeville Massacre, Soweto Uprising, assassinations of freedom fighters – were all hallmarks of the colonialist, imperialist, apartheid rule.

This date, the 31st May also coincides with the formation of the Republic of South Africa on 31 May 1961 as the consequence of a 1960 referendum, which legitimised the country becoming a sovereign state named Republic of South Africa. A republican constitution was adopted.

The apartheid regime intensified its tempo, scope and brutal force and with the exception of a minor setback in the election of 1970, it became strong. The history books are written in the blood of the Africans that paid the highest price at the hands of the oppressor.

The African People’s Convention (APC) cannot accept to remain liberated under the name of the white, colonial settler oppressors. We reject the name South Africa with the contempt it deserves and therefore call for a name change. South Africa is a colonial name and a mere geographic pointer.

We believe such a name change is important in closing a horrific chapter of national colonial humiliation. Based on the debates and research on the name for a liberated country (South Africa) done in the 1960s and 1970s, there seemed to be broad agreement on the appropriateness of Azania, as the name of a liberated country.

In an articles published in Azanian Revolution, George Wauchope traces the origins of the word Azania.

“Azania is a Greek transcription of the Arabic name Ajam, which refers to the East African shore consisting of countries like Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania,” he writes. He further explains: “In Zulu zansi means down or south. When one looks at countries where the phoneme za or z emerges, one discovers that such countries are situated in the southern hemisphere, e.g. Zanzibar, Mozambique, Zambia, Zaire and perhaps Zimbabwe. In the latter zi can be compared to the Zulu ningizimu which also means south, la is a suffix that denotes land whilst the Swahili nia refers to the in­nermost part of man, heart, mind, conscience or disposition. Therefore Azania means land of the Black people”

As Africans, we must rise and re-live the life that was created by the Azanian civilisation. We must value and recognise the contribution we‘ve made to the world in general, and rename our country Azania. The term Azania carries with it an anti- imperialist context. The name helps to situate our liberation struggle as Azanians in the context of Africa’s history.

It is our firm view that South Africa should have followed in the footsteps of countries like Zimbabwe and Namibia and changed its name after liberation. Going into it’s 54th National Conference in December last year, the ruling African National Congress had promised to discuss the name change. We therefore call on the ANC and President Ramaphosa’s conscience, to erase this history of humiliation, and rename this country as Azania. It’s not as if we are asking for something out of the ordinary – changing colonial and apartheid names is government policy that is being implemented already. And so why not South Africa to Azania?

Nkosinathi Mahala is APC’s Deputy President)

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2 Comments

  1. Absolutely true son of the soil but first we must have one Pan Africanist organisation throughout the continent. We cannot survive with a fragmented Pan Africanist view, While we agree now that there are similarities in our liberatory creed, all like mindedness must show in unison. Time to stop leadership squabbles and build the PAN AFRICANIS CONGRESS OF AZANIA. Just like all who defected before, they must come back since the PAN AFRICANIST language can and should come from the PAC of AZANIA.

    1. It seems to me that Azania will rise irrespective of any prerequisite, irrespective of time RSA will fall the same as Apartheid, RSA is not possible to sustain itself with the stolen goods irrespective of what the ANC and its funders want to think! The abject poverty experience by Africans is what will rise Azania, keep the faith Africa shall be free!

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