by Paul Chika Emekwulu
In the past I’ve written a similar article titled, Igbo Names and the Anglicizing Movement. In that article I looked into how our Igbo brothers and sisters are making serious effort to make their names look like that of the white man. Some achieve this by affixing the letters “r”, “h” etc. at the end of their last names. Examples were given with Mbah for Mba, Umeh for Ume, Anakor for Anakọ etc.
An event that took place on the evening of June 17, 2020 necessitated this article. On this day and time as I was engrossed listening to a WhatsApp audio CD message in my car with the door open, two little girls visited me. When I looked up one was a familiar face while the other one was a total stranger. I decided to give them attention for you never know when you are visited by ‘angels.’
The familiar one goes by the name ChizaramRejoice (one word) which I have a problem with.
“Kedu aha ya?” I asked the familiar one of the stranger. “Gift,” she answered.
I turned to the stranger herself and asked:
“Kedu aha gị?”
“Gift,” she confirmed.
I said, “no, your name is not “Gift” but “Onyinye.”
She persisted and continued telling me that her name was “Gift.” I said “Gift” is just an English literal translation for “Onyinye.”
Since then I started to nurture this question and the question is: Why should parents get their children into this kind of mess?”
It is a mess because when these children are given names like this, parents are sending a lot of messages and none is good.
Similar names are “Love” for Ifụnanya, “Blessing” for “Ngọzi”. Even though to write and spell these names we don’t affix “r” or “h” to these last names, the goal is the same with the other side of the anglicizing movement.
The World Health Organization (WHO) refused to recognize the ingenuity of Madagascan research scientists as they came up with an herbal cure for Coronavirus. Some, if not most of us are still wondering why an international health body would pay deaf ears to such an important discovery. These people are still as of today searching for reasons why things like that still happen. For such people search no more. Here is the reason.
As long as a black, child when presented two dolls, one black and the other white to choose from, would definitely not probably choose the white doll, the WHO and the entire white race would continue to despise Africa’s ingenuity.
When a parent is naming his or her child “Gift” instead of “Onyinye”, such a parent is teaching his or her child overtly how to develop preference for white dolls over black dolls, such a child is being overtly taught how to develop preference for foreign soapd over locallly made soapd, such a child is being taught how to develop preference for foreign shoes over locally made shoes, such a child is being overtly taught how to develop preference for foreign wine over locally made wine (if any), such a child is being generally taught how to develop preference for anything foreign over locally made items.
Gradually, in some cases when this desire is not controlled enough, such a child will start to hate her skin colour. That is how white girls became models of beauty for our little black girls and young black women, that is how white became symbol of beauty and innocense, and black, symbol of ugliness and guilt. Is that making any sense to you?
Now for those girls who go by the names Blessing, snd Love, I’ve a message for you – a message you will not get from your parents. For Blessing your name is not just “Blessing” which is a literal translation, but “Ngọzi.” For Ifụnanya, your name is Ifụnanya and not just “Love”, which again is also a literal translation.
The Church should step up by encouraging parents to choose Igbo names at baptism over English names. In addition, the Church, in the process of doing so should discourage favouring literally translated English names over Igbo names of the same meaning.
What is going here on is a process, a subtle process started by the white man, and now the Asians have joined to help finish up what was started donkey years ago. It is working because we are responding and instead of being a terminating decimal, it will be non terminating.
Some effort is being made to reverse this trend but unfortunately, while some of us see all this as a problem most of us don’t. It is only when you admit that there is a problem that you will start to look for a solution.