Socialist Party of Azania

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

Socialist Party of Azania
PresidentTiyani Lybon Mabasa
Secretary-GeneralAshraf Jooma
Founded21 March 1998
Split fromAzanian People's Organisation
Headquarters4–16 Renaissance Centre, Gandhi Square, Johannesburg 2000
IdeologyBlack Consciousness
African nationalism
Political positionFar-Left
International affiliationInternational Liaison Committee for a Workers' International
ColorsYellow, black and red


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 was 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 argued, was 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 was 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 other partiesEdit

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

In the lead-up to the 2014 election, the party announced that it had agreed working relations with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and that its members would form part of the EFF's candidate list.[4]

Election resultsEdit

National electionsEdit

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

Provincial electionsEdit

Election Eastern Cape Free State Gauteng Kwazulu-Natal Limpopo Mpumalanga North-West Northern Cape Western Cape
% Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats
1999 - 0/63 0.11% 0/30 0.05% 0/73 0.12% 0/80 - 0/49 - 0/30 - 0/33 - 0/30 - 0/42
2004 0.15% 0/63 - 0/30 0.09% 0/73 0.18% 0/80 - 0/49 0.13% 0/30 - 0/33 - 0/30 - 0/42

Electoral performance and political affiliationEdit

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

External linksEdit

See alsoEdit


  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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Impasse thwarts Azapo, Sopa merger". Independent Online. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ admin (17 March 2014). "EFF candidates list for 2014 general elections". Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Supporter Website Archive. Retrieved 21 January 2021.