African naming culture is a journey. It is the terrific tale of names in Africa land.
Naming a child is unique experience parents look up to. We all want that special and elegant names for our kids. Don’t we?
In African naming culture, names are given to children based on the happenings in the home, community and the society at large.
This tradition of African naming culture is passed from one generation to another, the baby names are based on the occurrences.
This helps us to keep the date in mind like having a living journal. Interesting right?🤗🤗🤗🤗
When we sit around the fire telling tales of heroes, the storyteller points to a kid and tells the tale that leads to the child’s naming.
Giving insight into our African naming culture.
Western civilization, however, has given a hard blow to this naming culture. Making it difficult to practise.
The once elegant naming culture is no longer a myth to behold.
No one wants to give a tribal name to their child anymore but biblical names and names that they’ve heard from a cartoon or movie like Jasmine, Natasha, Olivia, zephora, and a bunch of others.
Is it wrong for parents to give their child such names, No! but the trend has been on for ages and little by little we are losing our African naming culture and identity.
Where is a man without his culture?
The Yoruba’s from the eastern part of Nigeria still cherish this naming culture but from my clan, the Uhrobo’s, they are gradually going into extinction.
I recently surveyed the African naming culture of my people. I told some of the town’s men to give me an African name or a baby name that is of our tribe.
To narrow down the research, I ask a father of about fifty years to give me some baby names of our dialect. Surprisingly he could not mention up to fifteen.
He could not even remember the African name he gave to his kids. Can you imagine?
What a heartbreaking moment. I did not hide my feelings at all. I said “if you the elder can not remember the native baby names you give to your children, how do you think the kids will ever live up to the name? Or even appreciate and acknowledge the identity?
He admitted. I am wrong. Have done more harm than good to our naming culture.
I have contributed to destroying our African naming culture. He went further to say that, at times when he remembers and calls the kids by their African name, they don’t answer.
Of course, they won’t respond because they don’t know who you are referring to.
Why parents reject this African culture
Some of these cultural names are not heroic nevertheless they hold a record in the African naming history.
In the case that the baby name given was related to the negative, then one can choose to change it when he gets older. No one will stop him or her from choosing a new name.
I admire the Indians for this naming culture also. The Indians kept this culture in respective of western influence. You will hardly hear foreign names among them.
I must confess that their names are very long still, they’ve kept this heritage alive.
I vividly remember how I was named. It is always an exciting time when told the story behind your birth. We all look forward to it but most importantly we all wish secretly that it is a nice story.
Negative names are given also and this is because what happened at the time of birth was a bad experience and no one wants a name that carries bad omen.
Would you love to hear how I was given my name? I know you do so I will tell.
How I was named
In Uhrobo land, a child’s name is given 2weeks after birth. Whatever happens within this time frame, makes up the name given.
My tribal name is ESERE and it means Gift. This is the story of my naming.
When I was given birth to, dad was not in a good financial position. Though he was working at the time, the government delayed his payments.
It was not easy for dad to carry the requirements needed to run the home.
Feeding was a challenge and a baby was coming. My parents, however, manage until I was given birth to.
Rainbows still did not appear even after I was born and this continued for a week plus. It was close to my naming day and the sky still looks dark.
It was a tough time for the family especially for me the newborn and my mum.
On the day of the naming, dad told the family he had a dream. He said someone threw feces at him. According to dad, it means good luck.
Time walked by slowly for fortune to smile down at us but it never did. After so much waiting, dad decided to go to the river to catch some fishes to make pepper soup for dinner.
Unfortunately, luck did not smile on him either. He came back feeling miserable with tiny little fishes in his hand. He dropped the bucket of the fish with my elder sister and went to the back of the house to sit.
It has already been settled that I brought bad luck to the family and a lot of negative names are already being thought of. I will be named after dinner but before the final preparation for the meal, there was a knock at the door.
Who was it
Dad wasn’t ready to entertain any visitor but not to be rude, he told my brother to go check who is at the door. With the instruction that, if it was a familiar face, they should tell the person he was not around.
When my brother went to check who’s at the entrance, it was not a known face. The stranger insisted on seeing papa that it was of uttermost importance.
With that said, my brother went to dad and convinced him to see the stranger.
The stranger happens to be one of the staff of NNPC and oil company in my state. He said an internal audit was made in the company and they found out that he has not been paid for some job he performed seven years ago.
Since dad does not have a bank account, they asked for someone who knew him and can make the payment to him. This was the glad tidings the stranger brought.
A sum of three hundred and fifty thousand nairas (#350,000) was given to dad. He leapt for joy – as he was coming to meet us, he was shouting Esere, Esere, her name is Esere.
It was a moment of joy for the whole family. He also gave me Abigail as my English name. He said as Abigail in the Christian Bible helped David, I have helped him. This was the reason he gave me Abigail – not even aware of what it means but do you know Abigail means fathers, love? So he chose the perfect name for me.
I brought good tidings to my family at the end of the day even if it was hard at the beginning. 🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩😜😜😜😜
Of course, we did not take that tiny fishes again. Dad gave us a special treat.
Uhrobo Names For Boys and Girls
Fejiro means God is worthy to be praised. Fejiro can be given to both male and female children.
Aghogho means happiness and It is usually given to a girl child.
Omogene jakpo means a child that is sent by God and it is a boys name.
Ogene mina simply means am looking up to God and it’s a beautiful name for a girl child.
Ejiro ogene The meaning of this name is praise God and it is a females name but I have also come across males who bears this name. There is a story behind a male answering this name.
Ogene rukeme This means God did it for me. Most times this name is given to kids whose parents have been expecting for a long time and finally, it came. It is mostly given to females.
Ogene nyerovwo God answers prayer is the meaning of this name.
Onorode This name is like an adage. It teaches people to not judge one based on their present status. who knows tomorrow is the meaning of Onorode and it’s a name for both boys and girls.
Arere means profit and it’s a girls name.
Efe means wealth
Ukwuani And Igbo Names
This two tribes in Nigeria, though different but their traditions and ways of doing things are closely related. They sometimes bear the same name but the pronunciation set them apart.
Obuego means blessing and it’s a boys name
Odischika means bringer of life and it’s a baby boy’s name.
Osamusali means all births are not equal. This can also be interpreted as all fingers are not equal. Every child has his or her destiny. So comparing children should not be encouraged. This is a boy’s name by the way.
Odika means something that is strong and it’s a boy’s name.
Chibudum means God is life and it’s a boy’s name.
Chiwendum means God is the giver of life. It is a baby boy’s name.
Nwabife means this is what I have. A child is more valued than an asset. It is usually given to a male child.
Ifebadofu means let there be more than one. It’s always a woman’s dream to give birth more than one child. So this name is more like a proclamation and its a unisex name.
Nuduka means life is the highest. Even if we all want to go to heaven, nobody wants to die. It is a name for both boys and girls.
Ogechuku means God’s time is the best and it can be given to a female child.
Ashienedu means my God directs me. Both boys and girls answer this name.
Okudili means what is left to say. Like I told you, some of the meaning of the names might not be that pretty but it is a name given, however.
Ada means first female child. Every first girl child in a family is usually called Ada.
Nwakama means a child is good and it’s a girls name.
Obinna means my fathers heart and it’s a boy’s name.
Nwaose means Gods child and it can be given to both sex.
Olise means God and is usually given to a male child.
If you notice, most of the names have God related to it and if you could also recall from the beginning of this article, I did mention that these days is more of biblical names. If it is not a name from the bible, it will be related to God. Here go the religious people of Nigeria.
African naming culture is a beautiful tradition about naming a child. It lights and keeps in the record the past of the community through the names.
The tradition of naming a child in the African way is going extinct. It is being swept under the shadow of civilization.
Do you approve that the traditional way of naming a baby to be forgotten? The decision is yours.
For me, though we are in an era where there are diverse ways of saving information, I do believe a living journal is a transcendence that can not be compared.