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Decolonization of Edo/African Names

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By Osamede Osunde (Last update 25/09/2017)

To say there is nothing in a name is a grossly misleading statement. Everyone has a name; it is our most valuable possession, our only possession that can survive dearth. Names are use to identify People. Even the poorest folks have a name that can live after their death.

In Africa, many people change their names for one reason and other. Some countries changed their names following independence Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mali. Just to mention but a few.

The Africans have a very strong believed that the names a person bears is sometimes a key to the understanding of the persons, family history and the environment were they were born.

A numbers of events dictate the choice of a name given to a child and circumstances concomitant to the situation surrounding his or her birth. Religion, weather, seasons, festivities, wars, conflicts in the family divination, accidents, jealousy, rivalries, just name them.

Our African names always have a definite meaning and parents, relatives, and well-wishers are very conscious when choosing the name of their children or of an individual. Thus names are not merely labels or simply tag, which the individual carries along.

Africans first names reflect one or more of these existential dimensions of life, this is not however very true of the foreign names which have infiltrated into African continent, through European and Arabs influences.

Numerologists have discovered that the study of names of a given people will reveal body of knowledge about them.

Linguists discover quite a lot from the study of names. Anthropologists have derived useful cultural information about the people whose name they have studied.

Names are such an important tool for the uncovering of peoples social habits and custom, their hope and aspirations. Theophanous names reveal the names of god worshipped by a group of people, through a study of such names we can learn much about their religious habit. Through the names given to their sons and daughters, the Gikuyu of east Africa have been able to record history and events for centuries.

To the black man in Diaspora the knowledge of African names is invaluable. A detailed study of the names of their African Ancestors, which have not been lost under the traumatic experience of slavery, could give clues to what part of Africa Their ancestors came from, it was through such a study that the origin of many African-American have been discovered .

It is not amazing, to note that contrary to many of us African who reject our rich Africa cultural identity. Many of Our African -American folks and their upspring still hold on to their ancestral African names, which have survived cultural subjugation carry four centuries of history behind them, still gave their children Africa names even when they now belong to a powerful new world Why then do we Africans, even royals and the nobles who are the custodians of our rich cultural and traditional heritage still use foreign names so too is their upspring ? The answer lies in the colonization and the civilizing mission of the Europeans and Arabs in Africa. Colonization as a system, worked on the principle that everything Africa was primitive, barbarous and unholy. Everything from Europe on the other hand was pure and proper in a word civilized they make every effort to brainwash Africans. Make them reject their own civilization and to lookdown on things Africans. When we dropped our native African name, we dropped darkness and ungodliness To answers, the name of the colonialist is seen as one of the ways of becoming civilized and becoming a good Christian Answering Arab names is seen as a way of becoming a good Moslem.

This is the mentality most of us carry to this day thus today one frequently meets an African who will not be content, until you have told him what your Whiteman names Or an Arab name. Many of us, Africans bear many foreign names as our first names without knowing where the names came from and their meaning. .

An Edo family [Nigerian] living in Europe gave birth to a baby. Another Edo man [Nigerian] who lives in Europe too, called to congratulate the family. Then ask the name of the baby when he had that the baby bear an African name he reacted angrily and questioned why the family should give their child an African name instead of European name. 'After all, we live in a civilized world' he said. Yes, he lives in Europe. It is amazing, in the 21st century, many of us African still carry that brainwash marks of western colonization and misconception about Africa.

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