S'Busiso Mseleku

Time to change names with negative connotations

2015-04-29 10:22
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

Attending John "Shoes" Moshoeu's memorial service in Soweto on Friday, I was moved by the angelic voices of the BaPedi Lower Primary choir.

The school is one of those whose buildings were erected by the late soccer legend's construction company.

I think everything that needed to be said about how great, humble and focused Moshoeu - who was laid to rest on Freedom Day was, has been said.

However, as I looked at the school's name on the programme, I got thinking about the name.

Is it not time we change all names that have tribal, racial or any negative connotations, not only in our sports but all spheres of South Africa.

Given what's going on with the different statues countrywide and the recent xenophobic attacks, I think it is high time  that a great deal of thought went into the naming, or previous names of our sporting clubs and venues.

I  can assure you right now that the school does not only  enroll BaPedi children but right across the spectrum of  the South African population.

So why should we still have clubs with names such as AmaZulu FC and Basotho Tigers playing in our top leagues.

I can  assure you there are other names that we just don't know of as they are in some obscure leagues in the lower rungs of South African football.

Football - and in fact sport as whole - should be a uniting force and we can't  have clubs named along tribal lines.

AmaZulu have players from all over South Africa and even other parts of the continent. While Basotho Tigers is  based in the Free State, I can bet that not all of their players are Basotho.

South Africa comes from a background where the country was divided along racial and tribal lines. We all know what were the results of that set-up. So do we need a reminder of that sad past? Methinks not!

I know AmaZulu are steeped in tradition, having started life as Zulu Royals. But those were the days when we had clubs such as Durban Bush Bucks with one of their nicknames being "AmaMpondo" and African Wanderers who were known as "AbaQulusi", a reference to Zulu people from the northern parts of what is now known as KwaZulu-Natal, competing against them.

And those long in the tooth will tell you how many battles were fought along tribal lines after matches pitting these clubs against each other.

We definitely do not need names that evoke such memories.  Especially not now when our country is on fire.

Maybe the xenophobic attacks should act as a catalyst to rid the country of any remnants of discrimination in whatever form, no matter how subtle.

You can just imagine if were to have clubs named alongside tribal lines. The Premier Soccer League (PSL) will be littered with names such as AmaXhosa FC , Basotho FC, BaPedi FC, BaTswana FC, AmaNdebele FC, AmaSwati FC, The Afrikaners FC and so on.

Perish the thought!

Football like all other sports must be uniting rather than dividing.

In Zimbabwe, they got rid of names such as Matabeleland Highlanders and Mashonaland United after independence. The two clubs are now known as Highlanders and Zimbabwe Saints.

Why can't South Africa follow suit?

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    bafana  |  psl  |  s'busiso mseleku  |  soccer

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