Greek, ArabicShow more Greek (by the first century A.D.; see quotation 1912), probably from Arabic Zanj a dark-skinned African, but see also quotation 1933. The element zan-, probably derived from Zanj, appears also as a prefix in Zanzibar, and as an infix in Tanzania.
Edward Lane, in his Arabic-English Lexicon (1955), describes Azzanj or Azzenj as ‘a certain nation of Blacks’, quoting ancient Arabic sources as follows: ‘Their country is beneath, and to the south of, the equinoctial line; and beyond them is (said to be) no habitation, or cultivation:..some say their country extends from the western parts of Africa nearly to Abyssinia..and part of it is on the Nile of Egypt’.
J.H. Soga, in The South-East Bantu (Abe-Nguni, Aba-Mbo, Ama-lala) (1930) suggests that Zenj was the ancient term for ‘Bantu’: ‘There is little doubt that all east coast tribes, from Somaliland down to Sofala, were in ancient times called “Zenj”.’ By the year 880 the inhabitants of the east coast of Africa were being referred to as ‘Zenj’ by Abu Zayed-Hassan of Syraf. The name continued to be used until 1154, when Abu Abdullah al Idrisi called them by the double designation of ‘Zenj’ and ‘kaffir’, meaning ‘heathen’.
Waugh’s ‘Azania’ (see quotation 1932) is a fictitious island off the east coast of Africa. As a name for South Africa, ‘Azania’ was taken from classical geography and may have been first publicly suggested in 1959 (see Van Jaarsveld quotation 1990).
[1854W.B. Donne inW. SmithDict. of Greek & Roman Geogr.I. 354Azania,..Another name for the maritime region of eastern Africa..from the promontory of Aromata, lat. 11°N, to that of Rhaptum, lat. 2°S. The Mare Azanium..skirted this whole region.]
[1912W.H. Schoff(tr. of Periplus of Erythraean Sea [c A.D. 60, author unkn.]) inB. DavidsonOld Afr. Rediscovered (1959) 133Two days sail beyond, there lies the very last market town of the continent of Azania, which is called Rhapta.]
[1932E. WaughBlack Mischief (1952) 12He proclaimed the island a single territory and himself its ruler...Until now it had been scored on the maps as Sakuyu Island; Amurath renamed it the Empire of Azania.]
[1933G.W.B. Huntingford inAntiquityVII. 153At some period between the Stone Age and medieval times a civilization..left traces over a large part of East Africa...This civilization I propose to call ‘Azanian’. [Note] From aζzanía, the name given by classical geographers to East Africa from Cape Guardafui to the southern limit of the known world (about lat. 10°S)...The word may mean ‘the dried-up country’, from aζzaínw, ‘I am dry’. cf. azaniae nuces, ‘dried-up pine-cones’, Pliny, Nat. Hist. XVI, 44.]
1968Afr. Research BulletinVol.5No.6, 1102The [PAC] statement described his death as ‘a tragic loss...His heroic death..will always inspire the revolutionary youth of Azania.’
1976N. Ashford inJ. Crwys-WilliamsS. Afr. Despatches (1989) 412Banners with slogans..such as..‘We are not Boers’ and ‘Viva Azania’ (the name given to South Africa by black nationalists).
1977Rhodeo (Rhodes Univ.) 30 Sept. 3At the end of each [song] the orator shouted One Azania and the barrelling, echoing response One Nation rolled out.
1979Sunday Times 27 May 16Azania has been adopted as a name for South Africa by some radicals. Originally, it was used by the mapmakers of ancient Egypt to describe all the unknown territories to their south.
1984M. ka Myeza inFrontline Mar. 38The term [Azania] represents a society free of oppression and exploitation where there will be no regard for race. Azania will be an anti-racist society with no whites, coloureds, Indians or Africans — just Azanians who belong to the human race.
1987Frontline Feb. 4To the UDF the very term ‘Azania’ is a hostile shibboleth (and latterly there are tales of youngsters being beaten up for using the wrong word in the wrong company).
1988J. GroblerDecisive Clash 156The name ‘South Africa’ was regarded by the PAC as a ‘racist colonial name...’ They therefore gave it a new name, Azania, which they claimed to mean Black man’s country.
1990F.A. Van Jaarsveld inSunday Times 20 May 14In 1959 Peter Raborko of the Pan Africanist Congress proposed the name Azania. While the PAC has never officially accepted the name, it has found wide favour among a cross-section of black groups.
1990A. GoldstuckRabbit in Thorn Tree 18The ANC never refers to South Africa as Azania — that is a term employed by the black-consciousness movements, such as the Pan-Africanist Congress and the Azanian People’s Organisation.
1990Style May 35Somewhere between the Utopian republics of Azania and Boerania lies the real South Africa, a land where hope and fear lie on either side of the faultline of change.
1990T. Phake inStar 11 Sept. 8The Black Consciousness Movement of Azania believes that all the miseries and hardships of our people will be solved when we implement a one-party state in Azania, or rather when we establish a democratic anti-racist and scientific socialist workers’ republic of Azania.
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