No, not the kind of unusual black names you’re thinking of. (I got nothing but love for ya, Kwanise.)
Whilst on the internets, reading about the recent political history of Zimbabwe, I came across the name Happyton Bonyongwe. He’s the head of Zimbabwe’s national spy agency, the CIO.
Unusual name, I thought. Then I came across a Zimbabwean journalist named Brilliant Pongo.
And then former newspaper publisher Kindness Paradza.
There’s a saying in journalism: “One is an incidence. Two is a coincidence. Three is a trend.”
So I dug a little deeper and, indeed, found other unusual Zimbabwean names:
Jealous Mpofo, Clever Mudadi, Gift Maenda, Energy Murambadoro (pictured).
Such names may be unusual to American ears... but they aren’t unusual in Zimbabwe. One of that nation’s finest novelists is named Shimmer Chinodya.
The New York Times even did a feature article about Zimbabwean names last October, quoting Hatred Zenenga, Godknows Nare and a fellow named Enough. (Explaining this, Enough said: “My mother had 13 children. And I was the last one.”)
I love learning about these kinds of cultural peculiarities.
Benhilda Chanetsa, a freelance writer in Harare, described the phenomenon in a fascinating online article.