Azania is the name that has been applied to various parts of sub-Saharan Africa since ancient times. For instance, in Roman times -- and perhaps earlier -- the name referred to a portion of the Southeast African coast south of the Horn of Africa, extending south perhaps as far as modern Tanzania. Among the writers who refer to it are Pliny the Elder, Claudius Ptolemy and Cosmas Indicopleustes.
In the late 20th century, the term was used in place of "South Africa" by some opponents of the white-minority rule of that country.
Use of Azania in South Africa
Though there are records of the term being used in the 1930, in connection with early excavations, the use of Azania in a political context appeared in 1958, when the name was proposed as a replacement name for South Africa, at the All-African Peoples' Conference hosted in Accra, Ghana by Kwame Nkrumah.
The modern-day use of Azania as an alternative name for South Africa among revolutionary Black African nationalists only began to become popular from about 1979, when it began to appear in the names of groups such as the Azanian People's Organisation, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) and the Socialist Party of Azania.
At the time of the 1994 multi-racial elections, some people again proposed "Azania" as an alternative official name for the country, but this never received widespread support - reflecting the overwhelming ANC electoral victory and the PAC's marginalization.
In the period when Apartheid South Africa had diplomatic relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan, the People's Republic of China officially apparently also referred to South Africa as "Azania".
Wikipedia entry on Azania: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azania.
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