IDEA: Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Arts and Culture, received support from groups to change SA’s name

And what about our elderly people? Won’t they be confused to suddenly learn they are no longer living in South Africa?

These were some of the concerns raised by people in Cape Town yesterday when the Daily Voice asked them if they would support a suggestion by Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, to change South Africa’s name to Azania.

Mthethwa said there was nothing special about our current name as it was just a geographical reference.

He was supported by African People’s Convention president, Themba Godi, who said South Africa should follow in the footsteps of neighbouring states like Namibia and Zimbabwe.

“The issue around the name of the country is not far-fetched, and we know that from the late ‘60s the name Azania was used by Azapo and PAC. The APC supports the name Azania,” Godi said.


After gaining liberation from their German colonisers, Namibia dropped the geographical South West Africa, while Zimbabweans kicked Rhodesia to the curb. It was named after the English coloniser Cecil John Rhodes.

Mthethwa has now vowed to lobby the ANC to open a discussion on finding an “appropriate” name for South Africa.

Mthethwa, who is also an ANC NEC member, was responding to a call made by a resident in Molweni to debate the issue of the country’s name during the party’s national policy conference at the end of the month.

Resident Bhekisisa Khanyeza said it was unacceptable for a liberated country to continue with a colonial name.

Mthethwa, whose department is in charge of naming public areas, 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 a name. It is not there,” he said.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the issue would be discussed when it was brought before the ANC.

“There is currently no discussion in the ANC about changing the country’s name,” said Kodwa.