We've got news for you.

Register on TimesLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Eusebius on TimesLIVE

PODCAST | What’s in a name? Well, if you call yourselves ‘Taliban’, there is a lot

01 August 2022 - 12:52 By TimesLIVE Podcasts and Eusebius McKaiser
If she's in a kufiya, she must be a 'Taliban' supporter. A delegate at the recent ANC KZN elective conference made her loyalties clear.
If she's in a kufiya, she must be a 'Taliban' supporter. A delegate at the recent ANC KZN elective conference made her loyalties clear.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Join the conversation: 

Umkhonto weSizwe and ANC veteran Mavuso Msimang was a guest on Eusebius on TimesLIVE, discussing the importance of language and naming in politics after the victory of the “Taliban” slate in the recent ANC KwaZulu-Natal leadership contests.

Msimang had penned a general lament about the poor quality of political leadership in KZN. It included a comment about why it is regrettable to self-refer as Taliban when naming a group contesting for political positions in a democratic society.

Msimang, prompted by host McKaiser, said conventions around naming signal ideological positioning to the political market, and therefore should not to be regarded as frivolous and unimportant.

He shared examples of political names, such as ones that might include a reference, to a Christian God, that would immediately establish a political partys identity.

Given that words matter, the name Taliban, argued Msimang, conjures imagery of forces that are violent and misogynistic rather than ones that share the values the ANC asserts, including sensitivity to gender justice.

McKaiser suggested the political victory of this slate in KZN must surely signal a bigger problem within the ANC itself?

Msimang said it is disturbing the nomenclature had hardly caused a stir within the ANC, and said he, as a veteran, could therefore not defend the ANC as theoretically capable of redirecting on these kinds of issues.

The discussion ended with Msimang and McKaiser drawing links between the naming controversy, and a general commitment, or lack thereof, to considerations of ethics within ANC leadership structures.

Whether you agree is up to you to decide based on the full accompanying audio.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Eusebius on TimesLIVE on any podcast platform to make sure you do not miss episodes.

To listen to previous episodes, go here.

Subscribe for free future episodes: iono.fmSpotifyGoogle PlayApple PodcastsPlayer.fmPocket Cast


Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.


Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

Commenting is subject to our house rules.