In an emotional and impassioned pinned post, house DJ Clive Smith unfolded his life journey in reclaiming his name and heritage.
In a Facebook post, Smith revealed that his real name is Zenzele Dumisani Shabalala. He said his father gave him and brother a fighting chance by sending them to a ‘Model C’ school situated in the coloured community of Aquadene in Richards Bay during the 80s.
Smith said his father decided to change their surname to a family friend’s because it ‘was the best course of action’ during that time, even though it sounds extreme today.
He explained that this was how they had to their changed names: “Blacks were not allowed in ‘Model C’ schools at the time but the headmaster at Floraton Primary was sympathetic towards the struggle and in order for us to be accepted they usually tricked the system by changing kids’ names and surnames to white ones in order to fool the apartheid government and the department of education. This meant we had to change the names on our birth certificates too!”
The decision has caused him deep pain: “To date, I cannot get married and my kids have not taken on my last name because of this.”
Smith intends to change his name by the time he turns 40 next year, however, he has had numerous stumbling blocks from home affairs.
In seeking to reclaim his name, he has decided to delete his accounts related to Smith: “I do not sleep well knowing my heritage is uncertain, so I’ve decided to delete everything related to Smith and try and claim my identity but FB will not let me change my other profile because I have no proof of Zenzele Shabalala.”