Recently i had a visit to my childhood memories as i sat reminiscing with family. I recalled with no small nostalgia how i wished i had names like some of my friends, Cherop, Mwende and Adhiambo when i was younger and we all went by our English names. As per custom, i was named for my grandmother as she was named for hers, ad infinitum. I wouldn’t want to change that, what with the crazy mess at the registrar’s office if you want to change your name.
Nevertheless, i want to see change in the way we name our kids. Why do we insist of names that are from so far, like Alphonse and Stephanie(no beef with any bearers of those names), but we cannot have, for instance, a Kikuyu child named Moraa, even though both her parents are Kikuyu? I mean, arent beautiful names locally born and bred.
I applaud those who name their children in Swahili, as that trend is exactly what we need. Every time i hear a Baraka or a Neema, a smile spreads across my face. I feel that our African names are widespread in the west. We hear of Kenyattas and Kenyas among populations here, so why don’t we do the same for our own families and communities?
I have a unique African name and spend time teaching people how it is pronounced. In the US, people want names like ours, so why don’t we want them for ourselves?