Blog // 02.10.2011

Oh na na, what's my name?

Article by Abena A-T

” I need a boy to take me over…. blah blah blah cuz you’re just my type, oh na na na na” . Nonsense.

I can’t lie tho, that song is kinda nice, it’s got a little temporary flavour. I might regret saying that but, its out there.

Okay, so this post isn’t about Riri and her freakish ways, it’s about names.   On the bus this morning I said hi to a guy I met at the bus stop a few weeks ago as we were waiting in the rain.  Trying to remember my name (even though I hadn’t told it to him), he guessed,  “Precious?”

No. Not even close. But again, seeing that I hadn’t told him my name in the first place, his chances were slim.  I wondered why he had guessed Precious though of all the names out there. It’s not that common- at all. Is it because of the movie Precious? Did he think I looked like her? Maybe it’s the first name that popped into his mind when he scanned his mind for black-girl-name. Maybe he just thought I looked like a Precious, who knows.  But of all the names he could have guessed completely out of the blue,  I’m pretty happy with that one.

Names are very important in most cultures but I find very much so in African ones.  Sometimes they’re deep like “one who births kings.”  Sometimes they tell of of the sentiment around or circumstance of the child’s birth like  Abayomi- “born to bring me joy” or Nyamekye- “God’s gift”.  Sometimes they tell you what day of the week you were born on. Aba. Thursday.  Solid.

Here are some  names that I found whose meanings stood out to me:

Bakari (Swahili)- One who will succeed

Ismaili (Swahili)- He hears

Jendayi  (Shona)- Give thanks

Abeni (Yoruba)- We asked for her and behold, we got her

Chinwendu (Igbo)- God owns life.

2 Responses to “Oh na na, what's my name?”

  1. Aba says:

    I have actually having this conversation with a work mate the other day. In Turkana they name their children after where they were born. If they were born on cement they have one name, if on mud another and if in the hospital another. Interesting

  2. Kayi says:

    Kwacha(Tumbuka)- Sunrise- it’s morning
    Pumile- pronounced Poomeele(Nkonde)- Set free
    Mavuto(Ngoni)- Problems
    True that names are usually a big deal in Africa. It’s always a suprise when people pick names becasue they sound nice/exotic or have your favorite letters ! LOL,I always feel like that’s a mean think to do, like the parents don’t care.
    In my family, names have a story. They talk about the your family was going through when you were born, or about a loved relative before your time. The stories are not alway nice but at least they are there and you are connected to some a leagacy.
    ohh peculiar happenings in Canada! ; )

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