Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has 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 calls 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.
Mthethwa told party supporters during a cadre’s forum on Sunday that South Africa was not the name of the country, but just “a geographical description of where we are”.
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.
Mthethwa said although the government had made strides in changing the colonial names of some places, there was more to be done. He called on South Africans to assist in identifying improper names, such as Durban and Empangeni.
“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 Zulu language”.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the issue of the country’s name would be discussed when it was brought before the ANC.
He said the ANC had not taken any position on the matter.