well im thinkin
I don't think there is anything wrong with picking an African name that has a nice ring to it. I took into consideration the meaning AND the sound (if I enjoyed "hearing" my name or not) when I picked my African name. Also, I know people who have sought African elders to give them African names. Also, I know people who have taken on the name of African heros, both ancient and modern. Thats another way you might consider going with the name.
ahh good idea's rebelafrica i will look up some african leaders, maybe someone from the Mau Mau
the reason i want to change my name is cos i got an slave and slavemasters name and i no my black ancestors would want me to,
this 1 kinda describes me BANDELE it mean born away from home =D
Last edited by Field Brother; 09-21-2004 at 10:57 PM. Reason: wanted to add somethin
Field Brother -
yes its highly commendable to have an honorable Afrikan name... however, to choose a name of someone u heard was/is famous for either some particular thought, word or act is insufficient sound reason for u to put that weight upon yourself. To me choosing a name is akin to choosing a wife. In my way, it involved more than my wants. Involved elders, partnas, as much info/knowledge possible to provide verifiable background. I'd rather IfasehunReincarnated to speak to this; but me feels he very bizzy in a vital concern now; so if u do not object, I will quote from a brutha who wrote the following over 20 years ago. His "slave name" is Asa G. Hilliard III, from a long line of educators/warriors. Nana Baffour Amankwatia II is his Ghanaian (or Malian, I'm not sure which) enthroned name. He uses both. That indicates to me that he is proud of his father & grandfather's names; and he's honored to have been enthroned by a King in West Afrika. When, on round our curves in life, OurStories are still recorded there're b no break in his family's long line here. There will be no sudden dead ends of documented info in his part of the Hilliard's Stories. Keep that in mind. Now he(1) speaks to the naming process:
"During the 1960's there was a more recent revival of liberation, identity, unity, and self-determination ideas. However, by the time it appeared that much of the understanding of the important of cultural integration was diminished. African names and clothing and other symbols were more widely used. However, even among the users were many whose instincts were correct, but those instincts were not supported by a body of teaching and learning that sprang from a conscious community… that same period, the 1960’s and the decade that followed was a kind of development and incubation period. African American consciousness began to grow. African American studies programs and some African American communicators (artists, musicians, writers, and entertainers) began to provide to a wider African American Community a broadening base of information, perspective, and legitimating for African American culture.
It is against this background that we must seek to understand the renewed and the expanding interest in special names for African Americans. No doubt, the African name is a cosmetic matter for many of our people who have yet to reap the benefits of the family controlled education process that we must ultimately come to provide. Yet for a growing number of us, it is a life or death matter. What is at stake in the long run is our existence as people.
The matter of naming a child is really a part of a much more comprehensive educational process that is or ought to be community based, as far as African people are concerned. In many parts of the African continent – and in parts of the African diaspora – boys and girls go through formal ‘rites of passage.’ This is a stage in a comprehensive educational process where there is a formal recognition of and celebration of the transformation of children into adult members of African communities. The rites of passage generally had the following components:
- 1. Segregation from non-school goers
2. Retreat from normal environment to a sacred place
3. Life in common among students
4. Separation from home and opposite sex
5. Renunciation of all that walls the old existence
6. Teachings by the elders
7. Ritual nudity or grass clothes to recall the first people
8. Baptisms for purification
9. Tests of audacity, courage, fasting, flogging, hazing, scarification
10. Secret language
11. New names
12. Initiation into the mysteries and customs of the group (Exercises in physical and military training, songs, dances, handling of sacred tools, masks, symbols, etc.
Notice that naming the child, really a second naming, is merely one small part of a larger adult commitment to the education and socialization of the child and this only refers to the rites of passage part. What is important here, is that the power of African heritage to renew African Americans is related to the extent of the commitment that we are willing to make to the total education and socialization of our children (and ourselves). If a beautiful African name is all that one may seek, it is probably better, from an African perspective, that the matter be left alone. For to proceed with the naming as a cosmetic ritual is to profane a sacred process.
When African people name the children, it is based upon a complex set of ideas about the world and the role of human beings in it. This way of thinking about children is quite different from the western idea that a child comes into the world as a ‘blank table,’ or that it ‘has no personality until it is six months old.’
… the child is endowed with will and intelligence right from the beginning, for he is not an absolute beginning. He has a past, a personality inherited from afar, he is already somebody, and often this somebody is stronger and more conscious than the average adult. (Erny, 1973, p.92). (2)
As a result, the interest of the African community in the child is deeply spiritual.
The first question which is asked, therefore, in regard to a newborn is ‘who is he/she?’ Attempts are made to identify the child. All of his physical peculiarities are examined. Resemblances are sought. If the ancestor had an arrow scar, it must reappear under some form in the child. If he/she had a finger or toe missing, so must the child. In some places appeals are made to the divines or clairvoyant to uncover the real personality of the newborn. Sometimes the ancestor makes himself know to a member of the family in a dream.(3)
The child is not merely a member of its immediate nuclear family…. “…traditional African thought has a tendency to relate the child to everything in the universe which has an analogous status, everything which is growing, entering into the state of maturity, coming into existence – to all reality which is the inchoatie stage. The child is thus integrated into the universe by the play of analogies and becomes himself a cosmic symbol.”(4) Thus they perceive an indentity between man, ‘grain of the world,’ and the seeds of cereals. The bonds uniting the person to the universe are elucidated by the fact that the life of man passes through seven stages which coppespond the the seven stages of growth of the millet, and to the seven skies, the seven earths, and the seven waters.(5)
It is this sense of unity within the person, the family, the tribe, and the world that we risk surrendering as we forget or surrender our past. ‘Children are the reward of life.’ They are the fruits of creation. They deserve a place, a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose.
…..”Nia Diamali has once more presented to our world a special gift, a rare treasure. She has re-presented a pool of ancestral names, names that have the power to evoke power, to stand as symbols, and to awaken the sleeping African giant with a call to creative labor and self-determination”
- 1. Nia Damali, GOLDEN NAMES for an AFRICAN PEOPLE, 1986 Blackwood Press.
2. Erny, Pierre (1973). Childhood and Cosmos: The Social Psychology of the Black African Child. New York: Perspective Press.
3. ibid Erny, p. 114
4. Erny, p. 24.
5. ibid p. 26
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