Friday, October 14, 2011

Why South Africa is .za

Yes, South Africa's ccTLD is .za for Zouth Africa! :) Why not .SA?

There was an Old South Africa and there is a New South Africa 


South Africa was once ruled by an Afrikaner minority who 'Afrikanized' the country through a system of apartheid or 'separate development' a code word for white supremacist rule. The official languages for South Africa for much of the twentieth Century was Dutch and English and later(1961?) Afrikaans and English and the country's name was called Suid-Afrika in Afrikaans or Zuid-Afrika in Dutch. Yes, now you know where that ineradicable South African accent comes from :)

Even its airline was called Suid Afrikaanse Lugdiens and many streets, towns and cities had  and many still have Afrikaner(an African version of Dutch) names such as Stellenbosch.

For some reason,(perhaps because Dutch was the official language before 1961), the ISO gave the nation the two letter ISO 3166-1 code ZA for the Dutch version of the name Zuid Afrika instead of the SA for Afrikaner Suid-Afrika version thus opening the way for Saudi Arabia to grab the more intuitive SA. It is this name, ZA that was assigned by IANA as the country code top level domain for South Africa and later delegated by ICANN to an internet association in the country to manage as the country's ccTLD.

When ANC came to power in 1994, the "damage" had already been done and amongst ANC's many Africanization and BEE programs .ZA was never on the menu and has been eventually embraced by the 'Rainbow nation' as their proud identifier and a reminder of dark legacy that was hopefully and inevitably dismantled when Apartheid was shot in the heart in 1994.

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