Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Culture | The influence of deity allegiance on societal names

In many African cultures, societal allegiance to one's deity plays a significant role in Child naming. Many names have indirect reference to God.

Among the Banyankole/Batooro/Banyoro/Bakiga and related tribes in Western Uganda, you will find names like "Atuhaire" (variantly spelled as Atuhairwe, meaning God has given us - a child), "Asiimwe" (God be praised), "Tumusiime" (Let's praise God), Byamukama (All things belong to God) and many others.

Further south, among the Banyarwanda, you are likely to find names like "Nshimy'imana" (I give thanks to God), "Habyar'imana" (It's God that helps us give birth), "Ndikumana" (I am relying on God) and others.

In Chichewa/Chinyanja (Malawi/Zambia), people have names like "Mulungu" (God).

Across to West Africa, and particularly among the Yoruba, most names that reference God begin with "Olu". So you'll find names like Olufunke (God has cared for me), Olufemi (God loves me), Olusegun (God’s victory), Oluseyi (God has made this) and many others.

The Igbo equivalents start with "Chi", and include names like Chidi (God exists), Chibuzo (God leads the way), Chidimma (God is good), Chikere (God created), and Chinedu (God leads).

Dan A.  

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