‘As a country, we do not have a name, what we have is a geographic location’ – Sihle Khumalo discusses his new book Milk the Beloved Country
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Sihle Khumalo chatted to Polity SA about his new book, Milk the Beloved Country, and explained why he thinks South Africa needs a name change.

Born in South Africa, and having lived here for almost 50 years, Khumalo reflects on the past and ponders the future of this captivating yet complex country.

Milk the Beloved Country is a thought-provoking account by a South African who asks uncomfortable questions and forces his compatriots to contemplate what the future of this country (or cowntry) might hold.

In the book, Khumalo delves into the history of the names given to our towns and cities (from Graaff-Reinet to Schweizer-Reneke to Zastron) and in the process raises issues we might not have interrogated fully.

‘From where I’m seated, one thing that we should have focused on as far as name changes are concerned, first and foremost, is the name of the country,’ Khumalo says.

‘Let’s think about this rationally. As a country, we actually do not have a name, what we have is a geographic location. We are located on the southern tip of the African continent. If you look at the history of Namibia, for example, at one stage it was called South West Africa, because that’s exactly where it’s located. Even if you look at Zimbabwe and Zambia, at one stage it was Southern and Northern Rhodesia, respectively. But they changed those names when they got their independence.

‘So I think we are missing the bigger picture when we are focusing on street names, and the names of towns and so forth, without necessarily focusing first and foremost on the name of the country.’

Milk the Beloved Country is out now from Penguin Random House.

Watch the full interview here:

Categories Lifestyle Non-fiction South Africa

Tags Milk the Beloved Country Penguin Random House SA Polity SA Sihle Khumalo Umuzi Videos

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