The beloved name of the national football team of South Africa, Bafana Bafana, may soon be a thing of the past.
Parliamentary sports portfolio committee chairperson Butana Komphela told South African Football Association (SAFA) executives that the name might need to be changed. Butana is known for his outspoken views and has in the past threatened to rename the Springboks. According to Sport24.co.za Butana has demanded SAFA to “either resolve the controversy surrounding the Bafana Bafana trademark ownership or do away with the name completely.”
Sowetan sports journalists Molefi Mika, Sello Rabothata and S’BusisoMseleku first coined the term in 1992 and it has ever since been used to refer to the national football team. A local businessman, Stanton Woodrush, successfully applied for the clothing trading rights for the Bafana Bafana name in 1993. The following year the team sponsor, Kappa Holdings Ltd, registered the trademarks for Bafana and Bafana Bafana. Although SAFA obtained full ownership of the name Woodrush has continued to profit from the name after a long legal battle.
Thisisfootball.co.za says that SAFA stands “to earn a reported $10 Million (approximately R74 million) from World Cup sales and deals with the Bafana name”. As a result “the South African parliament has told SAFA executives that they should consider changing the name in order to avoid paying Woodrush a large sum of money earned during the World Cup”.Kirsten Nematandani, SAFA president confirmed on Thisisfootball.co.za that “the issue is being discussed at a ‘national level’ and even suggested that they would allow the public to choose the team’s new name”.
Bafana Bafana means “The Boys, The Boys” in Zulu and some football critics believe that the national team needs a more intimidating name similar to the likes of Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions or Nigeria’s Super Eagles.This week Perdeby decided to ask students whether they agreed with the name changing and what their suggestion for a new name would be. Tumi Dibakwane, a second-year BCom Communication Management student, says he is “totally against the idea” and stresses that “South Africa’s entire football identity is based on the name Bafana Bafana”. Dibakwane says that if he were to choose a new name for the team it would be “The Chocolate Factory”. Vaughan Smith, a BCom Accounting Sciences student in his first year, disagrees with Butana Komphela’s sudden urge to modify Bafana Bafana’s name. Smith feels that the name “represents the country” and that it is a “symbol of the nation’s unity”. Although he is against the proposal, he suggests that “Gang Stars” would be a “cool nickname” for the team. Olefile “Fingaz” Mokoka, a second year BA student, concurs with the notion of changing Bafana Bafana’s name. He states that the name is “not representative of the country’s citizens” and remarks that a name that “unifies the people as a whole” should rather be chosen. Mokoka believes that “SA Stars” is a good choice for a new name.
Carice Frank, a BEng Chemical Engineering student in her first year, is opposed to the plan to change the national football team’s name. She points out that it is an “original name and an individual trademark, something that all football supporters are used to.” If she had to select a new name she would call it “Khune and others”, otherwise “Bafana minus Khune” if Itumeleng Khune, the team’s goalkeeper, was not playing.