Saturday, March 24, 2018

Five Examples Of Non-Ghanaian & Non-Côte d'Ivoire African Males With The Akan Traditional Name "Kwame"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides examples of five African* males who aren't Akan who have the given name "Kwame" ("Kwame" is a traditional Akan (Ghana/Ivory Coast) day name that means "male born on Saturday").

The Addendum to this post showcases a video of Martin Kwame, a Kenyan man whose last name (surname) is "Kwame". I have seen a few other examples of "Kwame" used as a last name (in a large online list of famous people from Ghana and in a Google reference about Kenya that I didn't document). However, I don't know the source or sources for the surname "Kwame".

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, and onomastic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Kwame Nkrumah for his life's legacy. Thanks to all those who are featured in this post and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.
*In the context of this post, by "Africans", I mean people from African nations.

Click for a Wikipedia page that lists a few African American males with the name "Kwame".

My guess is that among non-Akan people (in Africa, in the United States, and elsewhere) the name "Kwame" is familiar largely because of Kwame Nkrumah and it's also my guess that many non-Akan males throughout the world have been given the name "Kwame" in honor of Kwame Nkrumah. Here some information about Kwame Nkrumah:
"Kwame Nkrumah (21 September 1909[a] – 27 April 1972) was a Ghanaian politician and revolutionary. He was the first prime minister and president of Ghana, having led it to independence from Britain in 1956. An influential advocate of Pan-Africanism, Nkrumah was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity"...

These examples are given in no particular order.

These men's nation of origin is given in parenthesis. Numbers are assigned to these examples for referencing purposes only.

1. Kwame Rugunda (Uganda)
"Kwame steps out of Rugunda’s closet; May 14, 2012; written by joomlasupport
"He might resemble his father in many ways; the looks and amiable character, among others, but Kwame Rugunda has finally stepped out of his father’s closet.

Eloquent, intelligent and a consummate reader, Kwame deciphers the deficit crisis in Europe like a global economics pundit. An electrical engineer by profession, Kwame juggles the fields of ICT, trade and commerce with admirable dexterity. A son to ICT minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Kwame is contesting for one of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) seats on the ruling party ticket.

“Our federation can no longer just be considered as a noble idea by politicians but rather it must translate into the everyday thoughts, actions and livelihoods of our citizens,” argues Kwame, who has been working as Vice President of the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


In a measured tone, Kwame also talks about growing up under the tutelage of his amiable father, fondly called Ndugu.
“Ndugu has played an important role in the country; there are many children he has nurtured,” says Kwame of his father. “I have greatly benefitted from his tutoring. It sharpens your understanding. I similarly developed interest in politics.”

Indeed Rugunda must have shaped his son’s political thinking at an early age when he named him after Kwame Osagyefo Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president who vigorously pursued the dream of a united Africa at independence. Asked to name his role model, Kwame mentions slain Burkina Faso leader, Thomas Sankara.

“Sankara was a great pan-Africanist,” he says of the youthful leader who was assassinated in 1987 after four years in power.”...

2. Kwame Rubadiri (Malawi)
Excerpt #a
"Kwame Rubadiri is an ordained minister, communications and leadership consultant with over 35 years’ experience in international ministry. A native of Malawi, Kwame has served in Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Swaziland and South Africa as a leader and trainer in broadcast communications as well as a widely sort after preacher and conference speaker in more than 20 other African nations, Europe, Asia and North America. Kwame currently serves as Head of the Resource Mobilization Department in the Bishop’s Office at Christ is the Answer Ministries [CITAM] in Nairobi, Kenya."...

Excerpt #b
From Rubadiri on family and long career

The poet and diplomat was born in Malawi, grew up in Uganda, studied at Makerere, taught for many years in Kenya and Nigeria and has been Malawi’s diplomat to many African countries
..."For David Rubadiri is one of Africa’s foremost poets, a Malawian double exile and a diplomat, all rolled into one to form an eclectic mix of wit, charisma and measured words.

After months of trying to interview him to no avail, Saturday Nation last week met him briefly outside a private clinic in Nairobi, where he spoke of his life in exile, his connections with Kenya and the pain of living with dictators.

The poet has been ailing in recent years and had come to Nairobi for medical attention, in addition to touching base with his progeny based in Kenya.
“I have spent most of my time in Kenya mourning an old friend and a colleague,” he said of the death, three weeks ago, of Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe.

Prof Rubadiri, 83, complained that too many writers of his generation had died, naming John Ruganda, the Ugandan playwright known for The Burdens, Black Mamba and The Floods; Cyprian Ekwensi, the popular children literature writer, and Cameroonian Ferdinad Oyono, another writer-diplomat who was a colleague of Rubadiri’s during his stint at the United Nations.

“When I come to East Africa, and especially Kenya and Uganda, where some of my people still live, I feel as if I am at home again,” said the author known for such memorable poems as Stanley Meets Mutesa and An African Thunderstorm in Poems from East Africa, an Anthology of Poetry he co-edited with David Cook.


One of the most widely anthologised poets from Africa, Rubadiri is credited with making poetry, considered by some to be a hard nut to crack, enjoyable.


All the Rubadiri older children, who in descending order bear the names Kwame, Sékou, Tengo, Lunga and Lindiwe, were named after renowned African personalities.


his eldest son Kwame, today [is] a full-time Nairobi-based pastor.“...

3. Kwame Rigii (Kenya)
From "Kenya's Kwame Rigii attends Berklee workshop ahead of Gabon campus opening" By Millicent Muthoni, 10 Jan 2017
“Kenyan artist Kwame Rigii is among those selected to attend the ‘Berklee in Gabon’ workshop, a precursor to the opening of the African Music Institute (AMI) in Gabon in September this year. The workshop, which runs from 9-13 January 2017 draws more than 100 young Africans from Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Gabon among other countries.


Kwame has pioneered a growing trend by young Kenyan artists, one that seeks to preserve local languages through music. Despite being a contemporary force, he sings predominantly in his mother tongue, Kikuyu, fusing traditional with modern styles and using lyrics steeped in imagery and folk expressions that are fast fading from the Kikuyu language. However, his Kiswahili and English songs are just as notable.
Thanks to his popular love ballads, Kwame styles himself ‘Cupid's chanteur’. Some of his popular singles are ‘Malkia’, ‘Aki Wewe’, ‘Reke Ngwende’, ‘Haraya’ and ‘Githeremende’. He has done collaborations with Nyach (‘Holela’), Saint Evo (‘Kau’).”...

4. Kwame Owino (Kenya)
The ‘sacrificing’ public servant is an old Kenyan myth, SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 16 2017

[This is information about the author of this online article]

“Kwame Owino is the chief executive officer of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA-Kenya), a public policy think tank based in Nairobi.”

5. Kwame [son of travel writer Zukiswa Wanner], (Kenya?)
From A Delightful Roadtrip With Zukiswa Wanner In “Hardly Working” by Shaazia Ebrahim, Mar 6, 2018
"Zukiswa Wanner’s latest offering transports the reader from the dusty roads of Malawi on the back of a lorry to an impromptu safari from the confines of a small bus in Tanzania.

With Hardly Working: A Travel Memoir of Sorts, Wanner presents a travel memoir (of sorts) that documents her journey through several southern African countries using public transport with her partner Tchassa and her young son Kwame in 2016. Team Hero Squad, which is the name Kwame gives her family, adventures from Kenya to Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Uganda. Wanner then journeys to Europe by herself – to Denmark and then the Ukraine through Germany and Poland – before returning to the motherland to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

The trip is motivated by Wanner’s desire for her child to know the Africa beyond his school textbooks, to celebrate her 40th birthday, and mark the 10th year since her first novel, The Madams, was published by doing readings in as many countries as she could.

Her job as a writer means that Wanner is often traveling. In her new book, Wanner marries the two providing an intimate view into her travels in both Africa and Europe as a writer and a traveller.


As a travel memoir, Hardly Working has the perfect balance between description and insight. Wanner’s writing through the African leg of her journey is particularly captivating. Her parents were both political activists, her father South African and her mother Zimbabwean. She was born in Zambia, schooled in Zimbabwe, votes in South Africa, and lives in Kenya. Wanner is Africa’s child, with roots in many countries on the continent. It is from this background that she discloses childhood memories and her connections with people and places in neighbouring African countries. She also shares her observations and thoughts about her family, patriarchy, politics, and writing.


Martin Kwame's Story

BLAZE Kenya, Published on Feb 13, 2018

Meet 24 year old #BYOBTVShow contestant Martin Kwame from Kapsabet, who is a revolutionary photographer.
"Blaze" is a Kenyan reality television show
..."Just like in the first season, the show will see 12 Kenyan entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 25 years compete for a chance to win a grand prize of Sh5 million in a reality TV-style competition that will run for a period of 10 weeks."
Click for the article "Martin Kwame Talks About His Journey At Blaze And His Photography As A Door To Endless Possibilities", March 16, 2018

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Eight Videos Of Tusker Project Fame (2006-2013 East African Singing Competition Television Series)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides information about the East African singing competition called Tusker Project Fame.

Eight videos of Tusker Project Fame's competitors are showcased in this post. Some of these videos feature singers who won their season and/or that series' All Stars show.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all the singers who were featured on Tusker Project Fame and thanks to all those singers who are featured in the videos that are embedded below. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

Excerpt #1:
"Tusker Project Fame is an East African reality-singing competition show sponsored by Tusker Lager.[2] The show is similar to American Idol and Project Fame South Africa, musicians compete to win cash and a one-year record deal with Universal Music Group South Africa.[3]


Original release: 1 October 2006 – [series ending date] 8 December 2013


Past Tusker Project Fame winners have criticized the show organizers for not living up to their promises, stating that the Tusker Company makes a huge profit, but fails to support its winners in after the season is over.[6]

Season 1...Valerie Kimani...Kenya
Season 2...Esther Mugizi...Uganda
Season 3...Alpha Rwirangira...Rwanda
Season 4...Hillary Davis Ntare...Uganda
TPF All Stars...Alpha Rwirangira...Rwanda
Season 5...Ruth Matete...Kenya
Season 6...Hope....Burundi"...
This Wikipedia page also includes the names for some of the other competitors in this series.

Excerpt #2
... “The [Tusker Project Fame] reality show brought the most talented singers from Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya. The winner of the singing competition which would take a duration of 8 weeks, got to walk away with great cash prizes. At the beginning of the contest, there are usually 15 contestants who get to battle each other in front of the audience and the judges. Every week the judges together with the audience and fans get to decide who will be evicted from the house”...

Excerpt #3:
"Word on the street has been rife with rumours that East Africa’s biggest reality singing show, Tusker Project Fame (TPF), has hit the end of the road.

The annual show which is sponsored by TUSKER LAGER, a product of the East African Breweries Limited (EABL) had reached its sixth edition last year but it still remains unclear on whether TPF will be on this season as the organizers are yet to release official statements regarding the matter.

TPF, which is similar to American Idol and Project Fame South Africa, aims to identify the best singing talent. Musicians compete to win cash and a one year record deal with Universal Music Group, South Africa.

In the past, Tusker Project Fame has been criticized by fans for failure to produce musicians who are qualified for the industry considering that most of the winners remain irrelevant as soon as they are out of the academy.


Winners of the show have also criticized the organizers for failure to support them after the season is over.

In 2012, Rwanda’s Tusker Project Fame season three (TPF3) winner, Alpha Rwirangira denounced the show’s organisers, the [sic] accusing them of not fulfilling some of their promises and abandoning past winners.

Alpha claimed that none of the former TPF winners had so far signed a recording deal with Universal Music Group from South Africa, a package the region’s largest brewers had promised.

“The Tusker Company makes a lot of money from the Project Fame music competition, but it doesn’t support the winners in return. Most of the former TPF winners are still struggling to make a name in the music industry, and chasing the recording (deal) which is supposed to be included in the package that is given to the winner of the competition.” Said Alpha."...

These videos were relatively randomly selected with a preference for videos in which the competitors sing African songs.

These videos are presented in chronological order based on their publishing date with the video with the oldest publishing date given first.

Example #1: Tusker Project Fame 2006

Brian Nyamu, Published on Sep 19, 2009

Tusker project fame 1..

Audio Enginner Brian Nyamu

Example #2: Tusker Project Fame Season 3 Finalist performs Sarafina

Gbenga Kayode, Published on Aug 22, 2010

Caroline Nabulime (Uganda), Maureen Kabasiita (Uganda), Alpha Rwirangira (Rwanda), Patricia Kihoro (Kenya), Ng'ang'a Maranga (Kenya)

Example #3: Alpha Rwirangira final performance on

Gbenga Kayode, Published on Sep 2, 2010

Alpha Rwirangira at his final performance as a Project Fame contestant in 2009
Here are three comments from this video's discussion thread:

Prue prue, 2010
"Alpha did great! Big up East Africa!"

Bella Fonti, 2011
"whats the name of this song?"

handsome devil, 2016
"Bella Fonti sina makosa

Example #4: Tusker project 4 winner Davies-Sondela

Bethwel Akuno, Published on Nov 22, 2010

What a wonderful perfomance from Davis

Example #5: TPF4 Amileena - Hapo Zamani.wmv

Tuskerprojectfame4, Published on Dec 14, 2010

African night
Here are two comments from this video's discussion thread:

simenaona, 2010
"She is great...but tone down trying so hard to be Makeba...find your own unique style! But tooo good cos not many can do this! You are on the way gal. Mwanitu...nandiyo kwarange!"

Muthoni Kamau, 2012
"it was a competition,n the songs were chosen for them,i assuming you dint knw that"
I’m assuming that this comment was written in response to simenaona’s comment two years before.

Example #6: Tusker Project Fame 5 - Top 5 performances; TPF4 Msechu - Shida.wmv

Tuskerprojectfame4, Published on Dec 14, 2010

Msechu's performance
Here are two comments from this video's discussion thread:

TheAmadoni, 2011
"great one,,we are best in our own songs!!"

afrykanqwin, 2011
"kila siku shida shida....mpaka siku yako ya mwisho"

Google translate from Swahili to English: everyday trouble ... until your last day
Shida = trouble

Example #7: Tusker Project Fame 5 - Top 5 performances from Steve, Doreen, Ruth, Jackson and Joe

eabltusker, Published on Aug 1, 2012

Example #8: Tusker Project Fame 5 Top 25 - Part 3

eabltusker, Published on May 28, 2012

Tusker Project Fame 5 Top 25 - Part 3. Enjoy!
Here are three comments about the judges' decision about one of these singers:

Made by Moosar, 2012
"I'm sorry if these judges think they are looking for talent, they must be mistaken...Juliet was the best among all those contestants.A voice like that isn't common, esp not in East Africa. I hope they aren't trying the X-factor USA stunts of letting who they will win go and then bringing them back at the end. I bet Juliet would scoop that 5 mill"

regexty, 2012
"poor judgement.Juliet would have beat most of those even not on probation on tha galla nyt...Juliet u got maaaaaaaaaaaad talent right thrr!!"

Aniah Gathoni, 2012
"JULIET JULIET JULIET you are talented!!! i was also surprised how they just let you go .. it doesnt kill you but makes you stronger..."

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Reprint Of The 2003 Article "BBC Africa Live Asks, Does Your Name Affect Who You Are?" (with selected comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post is a reprint of a 2003 article entitled "BBC Africa Live Asks, Does Your Name Affect Who You Are?"

Selected comments from this article's discussion thread are also included in this pancocojams post.

The content of this post is presented for socio-cultural, onomastics, and educational purposes.

I republish in this blog difficult to find, obscure, or old online article excerpts, entire online articles, or portions of books with author credits and hyperlinks (when applicable) in order to raise awareness of those articles and their subject matter.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the unnamed individual/s for writing this article, and thanks to BBC for publishing it. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post.

Last Updated: Monday, 15 December, 2003; What's in an African name?
“BBC Africa Live asks, does your name affect who you are?
"Ghana's founding father Kwame Nkrumah chose to name his two sons after fellow African leaders.
Sekou Nkrumah was named after Guinea's first President Sekou Toure, while Gamal Nkrumah got his name from Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Nkrumah is not alone in fostering the identity of Africanism - the late President Mobutu Sese Seko dropped his own Christian name and even renamed his country - the then Belgian Congo - which became Zaire.
But 32 years later the late Laurent Kabila kicked Mobutu out, and re-baptised the country the Democratic Republic of Congo.

His reason was to rid the country of all of Mobutu's influence and he felt a change of name was the way to do it.

Naming is part and parcel of the African heritage. It reflects one's ethnic background, country of origin, or simply hope and a parent's aspiration for a child. What does your name mean to you? Does it elicit either positive or negative responses?"
Here are 35 of the 67 comments that were published for this article. Notice that most of these comments are from outside of Africa and outside of the United Kingdom where BBC is based.

Most of the comments that weren't included in this pancocojams compilation didn't reference any name or names, but stated general opinions about the subject.

I assigned numbers to these comments for referencing purposes only.

1. "The Yorubas in Nigeria believe that you look at your home and background before you name a child. A name is like a prophesy. You are what you call yourself. Have you ever heard of anybody naming his child Satan or Lucifer? I named my baby Omowonuola meaning the child has come into wealth. 10 days later I got a project worth about 5million naira!"
Arinola, London

2. "My first name means rain from the sky (Deng), the second means the colour red (malual) and my last name means cat fish (leek). I am named after my grand grand fathers."
Deng Malual Leek, New Sudan

3. "My name (Noxolo) means peace in Xhosa. What I like about this name is it reflects which tribal group of South Africa I come from. The Xhosa as well Zulu languages have 3 distincts clicks "X", "C" and "Q" but Xhosas use more clicks than Zulus in their everyday conversations. My family name has a click "C" as well. When my mother was pregnant, she was always fighting with my father and his family; she was in this constant state of depression. When I was born, she gave me this name NOXOLO because she wanted peace. Actually just after I was born, peace was restored in my family. My African name reflects my personality - I hate fights and arguments ; I am a peaceful person."
Noxolo Judith Ncapayi, South Africa

4. "Across Africa names are the person. They indicate the status of the person and reflect the expectations of the community. My surname betrays my British linkage (colonialism and slavery) but the rest indicate that I am a Ga man (Nii) from the sempe clan (Kpakpo) and I am the first male who is expected to lead the rest as indicated by the appellations that go with the name. It literally states that with you, the whitemans departure is no loss."
Nii Kpakpo Bruce, Ghana

5. "I have often felt foreign in my Arabic name, Yasmeen. I wished for the more African/Somali name such as Ladan (Healthy) or Ididl (Complete). But whenever I complain of the Arab influnces in our names, without rejecting my religion I get a negative stare as to say we are Muslims and therefore Muslim names are the way to go. I think many go with such names for the ease and familiarity, but Somali names are meaningful and are often such a comfort specially when the real meaning behind is understood. I also think Africans try to westernize their African names to make it easier for the westerners to pronounce, I would argue that is an extension of the colonization of the mind."
Yasmeen, Somalia/USA

6. "My name means 'Comforter' and has a positive impact in my life. Whatever I do and say I always try to make sure that it makes people feel worthy and happy in their mortal lives. I was born shortly after my maternal grandfather's death and my mother always says I was the silver lining of the dark cloud."
Munyaradzi Majonga, Zimbabwe

7. "A name can spell either a doomed and callamitous or a bright future for a child. As an African I have always scoffed at meaningless names imported from the West. In our family all of us have vernacular names coined after some event or expressing our hope and expectations. For example my name Pacharo means 'on earth'. In the year I was born my uncle got arrested under Dr Banda's regime. As a family we were at a loss. Then I was born. Something to cheer about anyway. So my father says ....well good and bad things happen here 'on earth' hence my name Pacharo. I am 27 and single. I have already decided that all my kids will have local meaningful and christian names. There is this ridiculous belief that a christian name has to be western or be after some Biblical hero. I dont think so. In my language the name 'Wezi' means 'God's Grace'. As far as am concerned thats a christian name! I urge my fellow africans to stick to african names. And as a christian I may wish to add that we need to be careful who we name our kids after. Evil spirits and demons can be transfered through these names. Naming your child Saddam will certainly not help anybody. During the last Gulf War somebody named his child Scud after scud missile!! I believe a name should reflect our hopes and expectations as well as our praise to God."
Pacharo Kayira, Malawi

8. "While I was living in South Africa my language instructor blessed me with an African name - "Naledi", which means "Star" in Sepedi. He said it was because I was so bright in class. It was also a popular name on the TV soapie at the time! During my two years in South Africa almost everyone came to call me by that name and I recall it with great happiness. Giving me an African name made me feel like a part of the community and not so much like an outsider. I hope one day I will have a daughter that I can pass it on to."
Lisa "Naledi" Martin, USA

9. "I was born in Sierra Leone. My family has strong Yoruba cultural ties and my name had to reflect the circumstances of my birth as my elder brother predeceased me in infancy. When I was born the name Bami-joko was imperative. It was a direct appeal to me by my parents to stay with them. In Yoruba, Joko is to sit down and the name Bamijoko means "Sit with me." My mother's business associates tagged Tadé at the end of my name because they believed that I should have a regal responsibility thus giving my name a wider meaning "Sit with me and look after the crown." Names have meaning which children are expected to aspire to. There are some cases however, where the name is more of a burden than an aspiration. e.g Durosimi "Wait to bury me." The child has hardly seen the world and an onus is placed on that child to be responsible for sorting out its mother's funeral."
Earnshaw Desmond Bamijoko Palmer, UK

10. "Names can be good marks on us. In my culture, most often, they reflect the life of the bearer. So people make sure their children's names reflect their aspirations or appreciations. I shall remain ever grateful to my late grandmother who gave me the name Chidiebere which in Igbo means God is merciful."
Chidi Nwamadi, Toulouse, France

11. "My name is Manyang, meaning 'bright with lined brown'. It came when my mom's first born died, so my paternal grandmother gave this bull with the colour 'manyang' as a sacrifice and I was born healthy. That's how the name which I love most came about and I will name my kid after my grandfather's name and common girls' name from my tribe Dinka of Sudan."
Manyanga, Sudanese in USA

12. "I was born Gabriel Nebechi Maduabuchi Sunday Ozoude Ugwu, in Enugwu (which is the Igbo spelling of Enugu). Gabriel, though a Christian name, is actually after my maternal uncle. Being the 2nd son, I had to be named after my maternal grandfather Ozoude. I was born on Sunday hence Sunday. So what about the other 2 Igbo names? My mother while pregnant believed that I was going to make a great contribution. In her mind I would be like a 'savior' to the family, hence "Nebechi" - 'look at God'. But in order to remind herself & everybody else that I am not "God Almighty", she also called me 'Maduabuchi' which is Igbo for 'humans are not God'. As far as fulfilling the meaning of my African names, though I am the 3rd child & 2nd son, I was the 1st to go overseas - on a full scholarship, & have been directly or indirectly instrumental for 3 of my siblings coming over to the USA. In terms of my nature, I am very spiritual, not necessarily religious."
Nebechi Maduabuchi Gabriel Ugwu, Nigerian American

13. "My name Besona means a good home and I would never ever trade it for a Western name. This year I was asked by two of my Western friends to pick out meaningful names for their kids, which to me demonstrates their love for our names."
Besona, USA/Cameroon

14. "I just feel happy to say that this programme of conscientization is excellent. African names have always been associated with personal identity and personality structure expressed in the hopes and aspirations of the parents and passed on to the individual child. So "Ndubueze" means that "life is king" - to live is to be a king. There we go!"
Dr. Ndubueze Fabian Mmagu, Austria

15. "African names comes with great pride and power. Maduabuchi means Humans are not God. Also: no one can dictate my life, nor my destiny, strong to be God to my destiny and my self. Last name Onwuachimba means Death could never wipe out a community. What a wonderful name; Maduabuchi Onwuachimba (Igbo-Nigeria). In abreviation "ABUCHI" for my Western folks, short and simple is'nt it."
Abuchi, USA

16. "In Most West African countries (Togo, Benin, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire), the majority of Southern people name their children based on their day of birth. For instance in Togo, apart from their original meanings, those names also have other interesting meanings. For example if you were born on a Monday and named Kojo or Kodjo for a boy or Adjo for a girl, you would be taken as a zealous man or woman because Monday is the first day of work after the weekend, and if you were born on a Wednesday and named Kokou for a boy or Akwa for a girl, you were taken as a half-lazy person because people usually work or go to school for just the first half of the day -from 7 to 12- and use the other half as leisure time, and if you were born on a Sunday and named Kossi for a boy or Kossiwa for a girl, you were taken as the child of God, the pure, pretty child because people dress up pretty to worship God at the mass on Sunday. Playing with names really is part of many African cultures."
Abi, Togo

17. "I love my name to death. My first name is from the bible as Christanity was an old religinon in Ethiopia/Africa. When we come to my dad's name "Negussie" it means "my king" and my grandpas name "Aberra" means "it's shining" so when you read my entire name it has a meaning of "Daniel my king shines." Yeah, I hope I will shine forever and be a man for a change."
Daneil Negussie Aberra, Ethiopia/USA

18. "Given the importance of names in my social background (among the Dinka people), I am proud to be one of those named after the "famous" legendary ancestor of the Dinka people of Sudan, Deng, who was believed to be the direct decendant of Adam (Garang) and Eve (Abuk). Any child named after the above names is a blessed one whom the community expect to live up to the due reputation e.g has leadership qualities and being honest."
Deng Mador K-Dengdit, Sudanese in Australia

19. "When I was younger, I thought of my name as a burden - no one could pronounce or spell it correctly, and few were willing to try. I felt that I was in the US, not Nigeria, and I wanted an "American" name. Now that I'm an adult, I recognize my name for what it is: a life-long blessing that my parents gave to me. (Uchenna means "desire or will of God" in Igbo. I also know now that taking the time to learn someone's name is a sign of respect and intelligence, and I take the time to demand that respect from others, and confer it upon others myself. I know now that when I have children of my own, I want them to have Igbo names as well. Even if they don't appreciate their names right away, the meaning will carry them through their lives, and that is very important."
Uchenna Ukaegbu, USA

20. "Knowing exactly what the word "taban" means in Arabic and Kiswhali, I asked my parents to tell me why they decided to give that to me as a name. Was it me or my mother who was "tired"? My mam first laughed and said, "you are really a trouble". She narrated that was her first experience of pregancy. She was tired and complained throughout that my Dad kept calling her Mrs Tired until she had me. Then tiredness turn out to be my popularly known name. Now, I find out that my name affects me in a positive way, because I'm more of a trouble and in trouble than tired. Again came "Alexander' which my dad named after Alexander the great with a thought that I would become like him, so they are still waiting!"
Taban Alex Donato, Sudanese/Australia

21. "I'm glad to have a father who always had time for me, not only to answer my questions but to explain and it stayed in my mind. It all started even before my first grade as all of my friends from my country had English first names. My father told me that my name related to my origin and culture. He told me that I could be known to someone by them just reading my name. I am called Mukupa, a Zambian name which means strong material, the outer skin of cattle used for making drums. And my last name Mulombwa is a very rare, big strong tree which I last saw when I went see my grandmother in the village. I like the challenge that people go through to pronouce my name here in USA, and they always ask me where I come by my names and not by the way I look like."
Mukupa Mulombwa, USA

22. "I find it very interesting that there is a strong vogue now in Africa to abandon Christian names and use only African names. Take the Kenyan President, the Honourable Mwai Kibaki, who has a Christian name, Emilio, but which the majority of Kenyans did not know about until the day he was sworn into office. What is particularly striking is that this is only fashionable amongst Christian Africans. Muslim Africans would never dream of giving up the Arabic names Mohamed, Abd'alla, Yusuf etc in favour of a more authentic African name. Why are African Christians so ashamed of their Christian names in comparison to Muslims who have pride in their Arabic Islamic names."
Vince Gainey, Kenya

23. "I'm very proud of my culture. My first name was selected from the bible. Christianity dates far back in my country. Many people do not realize this and may be believe that my name is "Americanized." My last name shows my ethnic origin. I plan to give all of my children Eritrean names, so that they can know where they are from. It's very important that everyone is proud of their African names. It makes them unique."
Miriam Haile, Eritrean/USA

24. "I am so proud of my Igbo name that I prefer being addressed by it than by my other name. I believe that those who find it difficult pronouncing our indigenous names should make time to learn them. Time was when we were forced to take on European names at baptism because our names were 'pagan'. Now we know better."
Elochukwu Okafor, USA/Nigeria

25. "I have always wondered why my parents gave me this name, Amos. I know Amos was a prophet in the biblical sense, but that is it. I am no prophet and I owe no heritage to prophetic origins. That is why I plan to drop Amos when I get back home because Kiplimo (born after the sun rises and cows/goats have just left for the pastures) is meaningful enough."
Amos Kiplimo Kipyegon, Kenya/USA

26. "Names do have a positive meaning as they tell where one is from and identify one with one's heritage. That is the reason why I decided to drop the foreign name I was given by my parents in the name of Christianity. I have decided to take my rightiful and meaningful African names because even Jesus did not change his name to something else when he was baptised so why should we as Africans change our names to Western names. I think it is a subtle colonialism of names which we should get rid of. My name Chishimba comes from a guardian spirit of the Chishimba Falls that is found in Northern Zambia. Milongo means "queues". I think my great grandfather had a lot of children so he was named Milongo. What does John or Joseph mean?"
Chishimba Milongo, Zambia

27. "I remember two and a half years ago when working in the lab for my masters degree and I asked my fellow lab mates what the meaning of their names were. I had known for a long time what the meaning of mine was - royalty with wealth (Ademola). They were unable to say what their names meant. For the next quarter to third of an hour, they literally disappeared from the lab and got on the internet to carry out name searches for the meaning of their names!"
Ademola Adeyemi, UK
Note: These are Yoruba (Nigerian) names.

28. "What a wonderful and a proud topic for Africans. Names are usually given after tragedy like several still births or after the religious belief of the parents or after the grandparents. My sister is called Bamijoko. She came after 2 previous still born babies. (Bamijoko-come sit down and eat with us) My name Adefemi, means "Big man came to town" "
Kenneth Adefemi Hamilton, Sierra Leone / Canada

29. "I am exceedingly proud of my name! It is a bit annoying that I have to spell my name whenever I call somewhere. But I must say that many, especially elderly people, associate my name to the late Emperor of Ethiopia, HIM Haile Selassie I. That fills me with pride! Yared is a biblical name meaning "Sent from heaven" and Yared was an Ethiopian Saint in the 6th century, who composed the Liturgical chants of the ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. And it's a name that isn't difficult to pronounce for foreigners. Haile Selassie means "Power of the Holy Trinity". So you could translate my name as "The heaven sent power of the Holy Trinity". My two brothers have two even more fitting names. The first is called Maren ("forgive us" Haile Selassie (for what we did to you...) and the second is called Kedus ("Holy" or "Saint") and with the surname this is "Saint Haile Selassie" or "Holy Power of the Holy Trinity". I wouldn't change my name for nothing!"
Yared Haile Selassie, Ethio-Swiss / Switzerland

30. "I recently returned from 3 months volunteering in an orphanage in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. During my stay I was given a Zulu name by the children of the orphanage. They called me Mandla, which means power and strength because I could lift the children above my head and carry them on my shoulders!! I was so proud to be gifted a name that actually carries meaning and love the way the zulu people reflect their hopes and aspirations for their children through the name. This is a tradition that should be preserved and used to maintainan an African sense of cultural identity."
Paul "Mandla" Taylor, UK

31. "My name is Hezekiah an Old Testament name that belongs to a king of Judah and means 'YAHWEH strengthens'. My 4 brothers have the names, Azariah, one of the three Old Testament men the Babylonian king ordered cast into a fiery furnace and means 'YAHWEH has helped'. Zechariah, a minor prophet of the Old Testament, author of the Book of Zechariah and means 'YAHWEH remembers'. Isaiah, a major prophet of the Old Testament the author of the Book of Isaiah and means 'YAHWEH is salvation'. And Malachi one of the minor prophets in the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Malachi and means 'my messenger'. Born in a religious family in Ethiopia (Orthodox Christians) our parents gave us these biblical names, but it wasn't until recently (7 years or so ago) that we became Christians and are now happier with our names."
Hezekiah, Born in Ethiopia, Live in England

32. "My first name Beteselam means house of peace and my last name Tsegaye means my wealth (not necessarily of worldly possessions). Together it could mean my wealthy house of peace. I love my name, I m really a peaceful and calm person and my name makes me feel wealthy."
Beteselam Tsegaye, Ethiopian in U.S.

33. "'Bradley' is a name my father gave me because he like his headmaster in the colonial days of Kenya. 'Ngana' was my grandfather's brother's name and seems to have no meaning - at least I haven't found one to date. 'Kisia' is my dad's name and means born after twins. My father was born after twins. African names sound good and give us a sense of where we come from, especially in these days when we are taking up a Western culture without trying to understand it."
Bradley Ngana Kisia, Kenya

34. "A little bit of care is needed when we name our children after big events. These events may not last long. Names like 'Abiyot' meaning 'Revolution' were very common during the early days of the Ethiopian revolution. It is now futile!! After the new Ethiopian government came to power names like 'Ifoyta' meaning 'quietude' appeared. The revolution is calmed down!! And in the future..."
Jambo, Ethiopia

35. "My name does not really symbolise anything, BUT from the region where I come from which is Kisii the following names are symbolic: Kiage - Someone born during a heavy harvest where Kiage means Granary; Makori - One born on the way(roadside) for a man and Nyanchera for a woman; Ondeu - One born with small body size; Omache - Some one born near a river. African names are good. For example in a party when people introduce themselves, it is easier to identify one who comes from your locality. This therefore means a name is an identity."
Paul Gisemba Atisa

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

2010 Journal Article Reprint: "African Names: A Guide for Editors" by Bernard Appiah

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post is a reprint of a 2010 journal article by Bernard Appiah entitled "African Names: A Guide for Editors" (except for this article's list of references and resources.)

The content of this post is presented for socio-cultural, onomastics, and educational purposes.

I republish in this blog difficult to find, obscure, or old online article excerpts, entire online articles, or portions of books with author credits and hyperlinks (when applicable) in order to raise awareness of those articles and their subject matter.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Bernard Appiah for writing this article.


Science Editor • January – February 2010 • Vol 33 • No 1 • 15

Bernard Appiah, a graduate student in science and technology journalism at Texas
A&M University, wrote this article while a Science Editor intern.

"I am an African from Ghana, a country in West Africa, currently attending graduate school in the United States. Recently, some friends—mostly Americans—and I played a game that required finding someone
born on the same day of the week. I was born on Tuesday and needed to find someone else born on Tuesday. Everyone I asked told me: “I don’t know what day of the week I was born on.” I was shocked!

If I had played that game in Ghana— particularly in the Central, Ashanti, and Eastern regions—I could have easily found a friend born on the appropriate day. All I would need to know is some friends’ names. In Ghana, sometimes you can guess the day on which someone was born from his or her name. For example, my son’s middle name is Kwame, which means that he was born on Saturday. But more than sometimes revealing the day on which someone was born, many African names have special significance. And the presence of multiple cultures in the 53 African nations adds to the richness of African names and the difficulty in understanding them. Even in the developed world, some people of African heritage carry African names (for example, Barack Obama).

Science editors with knowledge of African names have a better chance of appropriately attributing, citing, and indexing the many articles that people with African names have written for English language
journals. Having knowledge of African names will also help in communicating with African authors and editors.

African Names: Before Western Influence

If you go to some African countries where Europeans settled, such as Ghana and Nigeria, you may find such surnames as Ferguson and Johnson. But Africans did not have such names before the Europeans arrived. They had their own naming system that reflected the numerous languages they spoke. For instance, Ghana, a country of more than 22 million people, has 46 languages. Akan is the language spoken by the largest ethnic group—the Akans. In a paper titled “The Sociolinguistic of Akan Personal Names”,1 Kofi Agyekum, of the University of Ghana, identified clusters of names. Examples included names based on kinship, days of the week, circumstances of birth, flora and fauna, and occupation.

The Yoruba naming system (in Nigeria) resembles the Akan naming system. Akintunde Akinyemi,2 of the University of Florida, has listed bases of Yoruba names. For example, some Yoruba names are related
to the birth of the child (often describing the physical condition of the baby at delivery, its posture at birth, or its birth order). Some indicate the family’s social status and professional affiliation, and some are intended to ward off evil spirits that could harm the child. Akinyemi has written:
“Tradition allows parents, grandparents, great grandparents, relations, and family friends to give names to a newborn during the naming ceremony. Therefore, a Yoruba child may have as many as 5 or 6 names; however, one name will be used more than the others when people address him or her later in life. In the final analysis, it is the biological parents who decide on the name that a child will eventually use.”2, p 116

In his book Traditional African Names, Jonathan Musere indicates that in African societies there is no limit to the number of names that one may have. “These names go along with various factors, so that right from infancy this process of naming can continue throughout one’s life,”3, p 7 Musere notes. It is believed that as the names accumulate, so do one’s prestige and social standing within the community.1
Such names include chieftaincy titles or appellations. For instance, the king of the Asante Kingdom of Ghana—Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II—used to be called Nana Kwaku Dua.4 “Nana” means “chief or king”, so even before he ascended to the throne, his name portrayed him as king. “Otumfuo” (meaning the “all powerful”) adds another dimension to his social standing. Science editors would not find it easy to address or cite people with many names. Luckily, Western influence has simplified the task.

African Names: The Influence of Western Culture

During the European scramble for Africa in the 19th century, there was widespread introduction of schools and foreign religions (notably Christianity). In part thereby, Europeans also influenced the
naming system. For example, consider a scenario in which a child had five names. Teachers faced the dilemma of which one to enter into a class register. “At school, most people would now use their fathers’ or sponsors’ name, or combine names of these people with their own names,” Agyekum wrote.1, p 226. Religion also has had a big influence on African names. For example, Akinyemi noted2, p 120 that many worshippers of Yoruba hero-deities who became Christians replaced the prefixes of objects of their worship with the new prefix—Olu. Olu is the shortened form of Oluwa, the Almighty God. Some Western versions of African names are translations into English. For instance, in one group in Ghana, Dua (meaning tree or board) has been translated to Woode, and Kuntu (blanket) has become Blankson A (son of Kuntu), Agyekum has noted. Because of Christian influence, such biblical names as Elizabeth, Mary, John, and Peter are also common in Africa. The male names are usually given names, but some—such as Abraham, John, and Michael—can be family names.

Islam has influenced African names, particularly in nations in which Islam is practiced. “Africa, from the Sahara Desert northwards, is almost entirely Islamic and is generally considered more a part of the Arab world than Africa,”5, p xx Julia Stewart, author of African Names: Names from the African Continent for Children and Adults, has noted. “A heavy Muslim influence exists in sub-Saharan Africa where at least fifteen countries have a Muslim majority.”5, p xx Stewart has noted that in the west African country of Senegal, Malik is a popular Muslim male name meaning “king”; in North Africa, Mahmoud—a Muslim male name meaning “fulfillment”—is popular.5, p 87.

An article by Beth Notzon and Gayle Nesom titled “The Arabic Naming System”,6 which appeared in the January– February 2005 issue of Science Editor, may be useful in understanding Muslim African names.

African Names: The Case of Ethiopia

Ethiopia, which has had less European influence than many other African countries, has retained a distinctive naming system. At the 2009 CSE annual meeting, I met an Ethiopian science editor. “Hello, Dr
Mitike, I am Bernard Appiah, and I am from Ghana.” No sooner had I finished than my Ethiopian colleague replied, “I am not Dr Mitike.” “I’m sorry,” I apologized. He had already told me he is a physician from Ethiopia. I had seen “Abraham Mitike” on his name tag and had assumed that the last name was the surname, but I was wrong. He took my note pad and wrote on it his full name as “Abraham Haileamlak Mitike”. “Mitike is the name of my grandfather. My father’s name is Haileamlak, but we Ethiopians do not use our fathers’ [and grandfathers’] names as surnames,” he said. “We try to keep our ancient culture. Westernization didn’t abolish it yet.”

Dr Abraham (I’ve got it now) told me that usually an Ethiopian name follows the sequence given name, father’s name, and grandfather’s name. Thus, his daughter’s name is Asrat (given name) Abraham (father’s name) Haileamlak (grandfather’s name). “When we write scientific papers to international journals, they consider our grandfathers’ names as our surnames. This is not good,” Abraham said. He advises international journals to inquire of authors from Ethiopia which names they should use as surnames and given names.

African Names: When There Is No Western “Flavor”

Ghana’s first president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, had a Western name—Francis. But his “nationalistic” agenda made him drop it. Some Africans, like Nkrumah, do not like to include any Western name. Not only are the adults with foreign names dropping them, they are refraining from giving their children foreign names. When an African name lacks any Western “flavor”, even compatriots may sometimes find it difficult to differentiate a given name from a surname. The challenge for foreign science editors is even greater. To make it easier, some national publications in Africa list names with surnames first, followed by a comma and given and other names. Schools often use this system in the listing of students. Chances are higher that a child who is used to responding to, for instance, “Nkrumah, Kwame” is likely to introduce himself as “Nkrumah Kwame” instead of “Kwame Nkrumah.” In Uganda, this has resulted in a phenomenon that James Tumwine—editor of African Health Sciences—has termed the Ugandan National Examination Board Disease. Tumwine often encounters Ugandan authors “infected” by the “disease”. He said that authors who follow the manner in which the Ugandan National Examination Board lists their names often complain that their surnames are missing when their articles are indexed in international databases. Therefore, he has been advising authors to list their surnames last.

Editors Dealing with African Names

Author guidelines sometimes provide directions on surnames and given names. But Abraham notes that some authors don’t read these guidelines. “When you write to them [about the need to specify their surnames], some even become offended,” he said. The Ghana Medical Journal has a solution for the problem. “We tell our authors to abbreviate their given and other names while maintaining their surnames,” says David Ofori-Adjei, editor-in-chief. However, that solution poses its own challenges for editors and writers. I recently wanted to quote an author of an article in the Ghana Medical Journal for a feature story I was writing. I had to make some calls to obtain the researcher’s given name. Another problem is differentiating researchers or authors. For example, Appiah B. could be Appiah Bernard, Appiah Barbara, or Appiah Benjamin.

Kathleen Spaltro, in her book Genealogy and Indexing, said that when she was indexing names of people in rural Ghana, an academician advised her to “index most of the names in direct order, saying that’s how the bearers were referred to both in speech and in writing.”7, p 110

Some Advice for Editors, Authors, and Indexers

General guidelines regarding African names are necessary. The following may be helpful:
• Don’t assume that the order of an African author’s name follows Western style. If in doubt, ask the author.

• Recognize that someone’s surname may be another person’s given name. Half knowledge may sometimes be more costly than ignorance. Again, ask the author.

• African and other journals must make it clear in their author guidelines how authors should indicate surnames and other names. Authors must follow such guidelines. Adopting a common guideline
will help authors be consistent in writing their names.

• If you talk with someone who has an African name, ask him or her for the correct pronunciation. “Nationalistic” Africans may not take it kindly if you “Westernize” their names. I have an African friend who will even write the phonetic pronunciation of his name to help foreigners pronounce it well.

• For the name of any given African author, authors, editors, and indexers should be consistent in how they attribute, cite, and index it."

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.