Socialist Party of Azania

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Socialist Party of Azania
President Tiyani Lybon Mabasa
Secretary-General Ashraf Jooma
Founded 21 March 1998
Split from Azanian People's Organisation
Headquarters 4–16 Renaissance Centre, Gandhi Square, Johannesburg 2000
Ideology Black Consciousness
Political position Left-wing
International affiliation International Liaison Committee for a Workers' International
Colors Yellow, black and red

The Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA) is a Scientific Socialist, Black Consciousness political party in South Africa. In the 2004 general elections, it received 0.1% of the vote and no legislatorial seats at either the national or provincial levels.


The party was formed on 21 March 1998. It was branched from the Azanian People's Organisation. The forefathers of the party were also founding members of the 1970s Black Consciousness Movement which was led by Steve Biko. Among noted members of SOPA are Asha Moodley, Steven Peter, Rose Ngwenya, Dr. Gomoleo Mokae, Tiyani Lybon Mabasa, Musa Kunta Mohamed, Phineas Malapela, Patrick Mkhize, Console Tleane, Ashraf Jooma and the late Strini Moodley.[citation needed]


SOPA's ideological framework is a blend of Bikoist Black Consciousness and Marxism-Leninism. Following from this framework, SOPA argues that the end of apartheid in the 1990s did not truly liberate Black people in South Africa (which the party refers to as Azania), but that instead the post-apartheid South African state – led by the African National Congress (ANC) – has allowed the continuing cultural, social and economic dominance of white South Africans. This, the party argues, is due to the ANC having sold out to white capital. In the Bikoist terminology used by the party, those in power through the ANC can be said to be "non-whites" as, in Biko's words their "aspiration is whiteness" and only their "pigmentation makes attainment of this impossible", as opposed to Blacks who "are those who can manage to hold their heads high in defiance rather than willingly surrender their souls to the white man".[1] The party therefore calls for Black political leadership which stands in solidarity with the Black population of the country.

It is SOPA's perspective that to liberate the poorest of the black majority of population from despair, the working class must lead a proletarian revolution which will abolish the system based upon the private ownership of fundamental means of production, and result in the redistribution of land and nationalisation of basic industries. This plan would, according to theory, reverse the detrimental economic legacy of apartheid and colonialism, which SOPA claims has left black South Africans inherently disadvantaged.

In 1998, leading SOPA figures participated in an international Tribunal on Africa, "to judge those responsible for the murderous course imposed on the workers and peoples of Africa." The Tribunal held that economic policies affecting Africa – as formulated by such international institutions as the World Bank, World Trade Organization, and International Monetary Fund, and the co-operation of what SOPA sees as neocolonial governments like that of the African National Congress – have led to disastrous living conditions for the majority of Africans. SOPA regards such policies and practices as imperialism on behalf of multinational corporations.[citation needed]

Negotiations with AZAPO

The party has had regular negotiations with AZAPO aimed at merging the two parties but these broke down in 2004, 2007 and again in 2013.[2][3]

Election results

National elections

Election Votes % Seats
2004 14,853 0.10% 0
1999 9,062 0.06% 0

Electoral performance and political affiliation

The current president of SOPA is Lybon Masaba. In the 2004 elections, SOPA received 0.1% of the vote. The party is affiliated with the International Liaison Committee for a Workers' International. Although party members include socialists of different stripes, some of its most influential members are Trotskyists, and they comprise the Azanian Section of the reproclaimed Fourth International.

External links

  • Official site *From the President of SOPA
  • 2004 Election Manifesto of the Socialist Party of Azania
  • Tribunal on Africa
  • "Cosatu must back land demands", South African Press Association (SAPA), 17 Sept.2006
  • "Death of Steve Biko remembered 29 years on", Pretoria News, 13 Sept. 2006
  • "Awards should reflect myriad contributions to the struggle", The Sowetan, 15 June 2006[permanent dead link]
  • "Govt 'working for white bosses'", SAPA, 29 Jan. 2006
  • Interview with Lybon Mabasa, 10 Nov. 2004, KPFA-FM (Berkeley, California)
  • "SOPA renews unity call to PAC, AZAPO", SABC News, 23 Mar. 2002
  • "Azanian Socialist Party plans to register", SAPA, 6 Apr. 1998

See also


  1. ^ Biko, S. B. [1978] 2004. 'The Definition of Black Consciousness', in Stubbs, A. (ed.), I Write What I Like. Johannesburg: Picador Africa, p. 52
  2. ^ "Azapo, Sopa merge ahead of polls". Independent Online. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Impasse thwarts Azapo, Sopa merger". Independent Online. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
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