Fun-Lugha

Your ever reliable language services provider in Tanzania

Tanzanians’ ‘Interesting’ Naming Habits

If 10 Tanzanians gathered in one place, I can assure you atleast one’s name is bound to blow your mind-literally!

We are not known for our English language prowess but I think someone somewhere went to great lengths to teach us lots of English nouns and we learnt them, loved them and just ran wild with the newly acquired knowledge.

Banana (yeahs this one clearly takes the cake-or is that banana?!) Goodness, Goodluck, Lightness, Gladness, Witness, Happiness, Very Nice (no kidding!) are just a few of the English nouns (?) you are going to encounter going around parading themselves as people’s names.

That’s the thing with Africans in general though. We name kids depending on the way/date on which they made their arrival. Eg. My mom was born on my grandparents’ anniversary, so they named her Mueni, which is the Kamba word for a guest (as in she was the special guest)
Not all names give out a positive vibe though. Take for example a kid that was born the day terrorists blew up a building in Nairobi in 1998 and his parents decided to name him “Bomb Blast”….I mean really?! How to live with that? And he should be a teenager right now-Lord help him!

Now I feel like I should appreciate my parents even more for giving me a ‘normal’ name that doesn’t get people automatically snickering and rolling their eyes when I introduce myself.  Although with a French sounding name like mine a new set of problems arises. What was originally Elise, has been given dozens of variations like  Elisi, Elis, Alice, Alisi…just to name a few, can’t have my cake and eat it I suppose 😦

Do you think this just a Tanzanian/African thing or have you come across some mind-blowing names where you are from? Do share!

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