November 4, 2008
The Naming Process Becomes Tricky for South African Political Parties
Starting a new political party is hard, but naming it is even harder, as a new political group in South Africa has discovered.
One of our staff members based in Cape Town reports that dissidents from the ruling party - the ANC or African National Congress - broke away a few weeks ago and tried to reinstate themselves as The South African National Congress only to learn that electoral laws stipulated that the name was too close to that of the ANC (much to the dismay of those who had already bought T-shirts).
They then tried to call themselves the South African Democratic Congress or SADEC, only to be turned away again because the name was already in use by a South African party that was unknown to even professional politicians.
This all follows the ANC's legal move to restrict not only the naming of opposing parties, but also the naming of their convention.
Currently, the party is simply referred to as the "Shikotas," an amalgamation of the names Mbhazima Shilowa and Mos iuoa Lekota, the party's two leaders.
However, the reality is that no matter what they eventually decide to name themselves, it certainly won't be a name that infringes upon the ANC's trademark.
This is all occurring in a maze of name change proposals that are meant to happen before 2010 when the country holds the World Cup.
Right now some of the country's major cities and towns, like Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown and East London, are set to be renamed so they do not sound so "colonial."
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