What is in a name? North, south, east, west, wherever you go, names are important, sometimes sacred. In primary school, you could get into trouble for writing someone’s name with a red “biro” or worse, cross out a name with the same red pen. That act was considered suspicious enough to warrant being “cursed” and accused of shady spiritual dealings. Coming from a different culture, I learned fast- how to write names, how to say them and what some of them meant.
Friday, Sunday, Monday- those names were easy to decipher- just like Kofi, Kwasi and Kojo or Jummai and Danladi- to remind us to make a fuss about what day of the week we were born. But whatever you are called, someone probably thought about it.
I have four names, 3 are official. But I have a sprinkling of friends who have not less than ten names each. You see, for an African child, your roots are deep and you become a representation of your parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, great-grandparents and all their hopes and dreams. And your name must reflect this. Some babies do have a high calling. I don’t envy them. Who do you please and who do you ignore? Or do you want to start a generational feud between in-laws and families? Remember how confused Zechariah’s relatives were when he wanted to name his son John? Only a miraculous sign had them convinced (Luke 1:59-66).
We can be so connected to so many things as Africans. No wonder the binding and casting ministries are second in line to the prosperity gospel. I’ve recently discovered the art of beading and I had a request to string some waist beads. But I was ordered to avoid the already strung ones on the market since they may be “jazzed”. Who knows what gods and fetishes you may be bound to once you strap on beads that are meant to make you sexy?
So, what’s your story? Why are you called what you are called? To know mine, you can read The Miracle of Grace. If you have an interesting story, I’d honestly like to know! And even if you are not African, names “follow” you. Believe it!