Master:” What is your name?’
Master: (whipping him)” What is your name?
Slave: (writhing in pain) “Kunta”
Master: (whipping him harder) ‘your name is Tobby. So what is your name?”
Slave:”My name is Tobby”
The history behind standing up for your cultural and ethnic roots so firmly even in the face of punishment and blood dripping from your wounds.The story of Kunta Kinte.Kunta set the precedent.Its just right if we take it from where he left it from.He refused to be Tobby and stood for his culture etched in his name; Kunta Kinte.
Like rings etched around a tree stump, you too have history and rich culture etched in your “second” name as we commonly refer to it.Because our first names have to be English or English (no option).So why cant my African name come first and my beautiful English name come as a secondary? Why do we put our cultural names aside or even name our kids three to four English names? The notion is that our cultural names are not too cute I suppose.
I did not choose my name neither did you.Very ascribed don’t you think so? Anyway I will be so elated when Kenyans will just embrace what our Russian brothers do, not to mention the Chinese and a majority of the Asian population.It is not a comparison on development or anything but rather its just a simple thing: naming.
My maiden name has to be an English one because that is what my colonialists told my great grandparents and the generations obeyed it.The Russians and Chinese people do not even have to think of a suitable name.They just name their children straight from their roots and culture and their names give foreigners quite a hard time pronouncing. Quite fascinating in my opinion.I even enjoyed it when the foreign news anchors struggled pronouncing Lupita’s second name – Nyo’ngo.
I remember once when I was in class eight, we laughed so hard at our classmate who was “lacking” an English name and she went by the name Wanjiku Kuria. Come to think of it now, it was not a bad thing at all, in fact its a good thing.So its not a bad thing to just be proud of your native name (“jina ya nyumbani”) and flaunt it every time you get a chance to.Feel free to call your son Jasiri to mean courageous or Mrembo to mean beautiful in swahili and see how much a name can become a point of interest other than going to google for names and just name kids like it is not a big deal after all.Many people do not have an idea of what their names mean and they do not seem to care. But hey, these names matter.
No need to google fancy names that you do not even know the meaning attached to them.Just name the child according to her roots and culture.Let him orher feel her blood intertwined with her name and a deep sense of cultural vitality shall reign among us.We need new names. Our second names to come first.As for me ,Wanjiku comes first.What’s yours?