For Your Daily Dose of MbA

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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Innocent Mugabe

When my older sister led me to this article, the first thing I thought was: And they like to separate North Africa because this region is sooo different from sub-Saharan Africa, ha! Lies, lies I tell you because the Egyptian man who has named his first-born daughter Facebook has just displayed typical African behaviour by giving his child an inappropriate English word for a name.

In my country people are called Crankshaft, Anybody, Foluteer (a bastardisation of Volunteer) and many other highly inappropriate names.  Some names are translated straight from vernacular to English, immediately turning them from normal to inappropriate, as well as made up names that sound English and last but not least English names that are mispronounced and until they are spelt you would have no idea that that Kle-gee is actually called Craig. TIA, gotta love it :)

English names have a particular meaning in Southern Africa.  I have been asked many times what my Christian name is as I go by my Zambian name.  I will be a heathen forever, I like my name and I will use it proudly and am reconciled to the fact that some people will never be able to handle the consonant cluster at the beginning.   It is actually quite scary how colonised some people are that they think that using their English name makes them better than others or that it makes them seem more refined, more civlised.  Apart from the fact that most of the names that the English were forcing their colonies to adopt to prove that they were leaving behind their barbaric ways and had seen the light were English, not bible names.  Mary yes, Marjory not so much.  I like how a lot of Nigerians don't have any English names and make sure they are nice and long for people to trip over.  Naija pride, gotta love it. However, I do not believe that using your African name makes you prouder of your roots than those who don't either.

Today I came across the most perfect name and as I always say about real life, you can't write this stuff.  I have held many jobs that require me to come across a lot of names.  At school, working for the Alumni Association as a student caller had me come across names like the Asian Ping Pong.  Of course when his parents named him, they had no idea they had called him table tennis and that one day this would amuse me greatly. And now I have been notified that there is such a thing as an Innocent Mugabe.  Because he is Ugandan, I will believe his parents ;}.

All this led me to wonder if this phenomenon of erroneous use of English words for identification purposes is used around the world for all of two seconds. I stopped pondering this when I have reminded myself that celebrities have a penchant for doing this on a grand scale, as evidenced by names like Apple and Blanket.  All we need is now is Cake and Soda and we can have a picnic in the park ;}.  Contemplating this reminded me of A Song For Whoever by Beautiful South.  So I will end by indulging in a little 80s nostalgia as I absolutely loved this song as a child and still do. So innocent, so cute, so profound in its simplicity and my younger sister's name is mentioned.

"I love you from the bottom of my pencil case." CLASSIC! :)


  1. Great post! It was funny remembering some of those names first hand. I know a woman who named her child Cry as opposed to Misozi!

    I thought exactly what you did when I read about the name Facebook but then as you say there are weird enough names in the celebrity world as well.

    Though you are right in that having an African name does not mean you are more proud, I do like the fact they do by and large have a meaning and significant reason for being given.

  2. Thanks for reading. I agree with you about the meanings but you know all names have meanings, even the English ones. But I do like how there is generally some sort of ceremony attached to naming children in Africa.