THE periodical move to rename South Africa was given a boost last week with pro-Tswane supporters suggesting we drop the anglocentric reference to uMzantsi Afrika, and stick with what we already have on our coinage. However the reason why I’m bringing this up is because I’m sick and tired of some people being considered “More South African than thou.”
Take the label “African” which is used both to refer to people who live in Africa as well as those whose genetic heritage can be traced back several thousand years. The resulting confusion only serves to undermine attempts to rebuild our nation, as recent immigrants along with the 1820 settlers are given the cold-shoulder on job-applications.
Which is why Simon Robinson’s attempt to paint the problem in terms of black and white, in Time Magazines cover story “Black and White World — how South African’s are struggling to get beyond race” (April 25) seemed to bring a warm glow to the old cockles as the thought occured to me that indeed, we could very well be a multicultural melting pot, just like Australia. As far as racism is concerned, it really helps to be an island, and subsume everybody under one patriotic version of a continent “Africa” or an idea which produces “Africaucasians” but sadly, in this country we lack the isolation necessary to develop a mutation of the human spirit, a hybridisation of the ego which allows for a truly non-racial identity.
Which is why I’m suggesting we rename South Africa something truly distinct, like Robinson’s, BlackandWhiteworld, or Tutu’s Rainbow Nation or that old party favourite — Azania. Come to think of it, Mbekiland has a nice ring, or how about BaZuma-twsana or Mandelafontein? This blog will give a screwtop bottle of Tassies 2005 vintage to the first reader able to come up with a truly non-racial, “non-geographical placename”. Something that represents more of who we are as opposed to where we are from or where we intend going.
— all rights reserved, copyright 2005, reprint with permission.