From the xenophobia of 2008 to 2015, to the continued failure of South Africa to engage the rest of Africa as a regional power, it has become clear to me that South Africa suffers from an identity crisis. All nations know where their names came from — where did “South Africa” come from?
It is time South Africa lets go of its colonial legacy and adopt a more African name to its lands. We have the example of Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe in the region.
We are also informed by those who practice African religions that the ancestors speak native languages and not English; how then is the land South Africa blessed? Do ancestors know what is South Africa? The name of a country is an important first step; whether it’s Kenya or Switzerland it communicates the inhabitant and the owner; the people and their heritage; history and understanding. The name Israel is Hebrew and is taken from the Torah for the Jewish Nation.
Before South Africa was so called it used to be called Mzantsi by the Xhosa; or the various Kingdoms from Zulu to Sotho called it Mzansi. During the liberation struggle some Africanist called it Azania — this never caught on. Another suggestion in light of Lesotho and Swaziland were Nguniland, reflecting the majority nature of the Nguni (Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele, and Swati) in South Africa. The Tswana have a land as well in the region mind you — Bo-Tswana.
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