Yes, we back again. This time we are looking at the existence of gendered names amongst the different cultures in our region.
We have already looked at how some cultures choose names according to prevailing conditions – weather, psychological condition or even one’s thoughts (remember that piece about the Samia?).
Today, we look at gendered names. The Baganda, for example, have a number of male names that start with “S (or sometimes “Ss”), with their female equivalents replacing the “S/Ss” with “Na”. Examples of such names include Semakula (Namajula), Sserwanga (Nalwanga), Ssebulime (Nabulime), Ssenyonjo (Nanyonjo) and others.
For others, the original male is pre-fixed with the syllable: “Na”. Examples of such names include: Mubiru (Namubiru), Mawejje (Namawejje), Mazzi (Namazzi), Mayanja (Namayanja), Lule (Nalule), Musisi (Namusisi), Buyondo (Nabuyondo) among others.
Most Nilotic communities, in general, have gendered names being differentiated by the first letter of the name, where, for example, most Male names that start with “O” have the female equivalents starting with “A”.
Examples of such names include: Okello (Akello), Ochom (Achom), Otim (Atim), Ocan (Acan), Ocen (Acen), Opito (Apito), Odong (Adong) and others.
Amongst the Western Uganda tribes, however, most names are used interchangeably. But further South, amongst the Banyarwanda/Barundi, the name-gendering shows up again.
An interesting pattern in Kinyarwanda has the original male names prefixed by “Muka”. Examples of such names include: Ntabana (Mukantabana), Rwego (Mukarwego), Nkusi (Mukankusi), Nkubano (Mukankubano), Nkunda (Mukankunda) and others.
Still in Kinyarwanda, female equivalents are prefixed with “Nyira” (instead of “Muka”), while some have both versions. One good example is the name: “Yuhi” that has both “Mukayuhi” and “Nyirayuhi”.
What gendered names exist in your culture?