Monday, April 21, 2008

Unusual black names

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.

26 comments:

Bklyn6 said...

Astute observation, UBM.

One African applicant to the program here was a guy named "Innocent."

One student of the program was named Constance Vigiliance. However, I can't remember if she was African or from the Caribbean.

SJ said...

Hilarious.

Hey how about that..."Hilarious Mpoko" could be a new name.

Bay Radical said...

Cool theme here UBM. I'm also a big fan of Pilipino names. Here's some more randomly found by google. (I like this history of surnames in the Philippines too)

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Jejomar! Circumcision Cruz! Love 'em! Thanks, Bay Radical.

Undercover Black Man said...

One African applicant to the program here was a guy named "Innocent."

The more I see of this, the more I like it. Think we can get this trend going in the U.S.??

Kellybelle said...

I had a boyfriend shoulda been named "Trifling" LOL

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Oy!!

NunaOni said...

I will never complain about my name again lol.

Thembi said...

@ubm

you think maybe Akon tried that first then decided to change it?

Bklyn6 said...

"Oh, please! Why burden our children so unnecessarily just for the sake of feeding our misguided ego?" a columnist complained. "Quite frankly, these names amount to a form of child abuse."

That was an interesting NYTs article. Really, though. Don't parents think of the children?

I thought the name "D'Brickashaw"* was jacked up, but there's really no excuse for "Never Trust a Woman."

*I figured Ferguson's mom must've loved "The Thornbirds", but why the ghetto spelling? Daaaaang!

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I knew a brother in high school named after D'Artagnan of "The Three Musketeers." Spelled Dartagan, though, if I remember right.

But be honest... wouldn't "Jealous" be a fly-ass ghetto name?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Maybe "Jealousy" would be flyer. Jealousy Johnson.

Bklyn6 said...

Hey! Maybe John Singleton was hip to this Zimbabwean baby name thing. Remember, in "Boyz 'N the Hood" Laurence Fishburne's character was "Furious Styles." :-D

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Hee-heeee...

AQUILOGY said...

Shaniqua still sounds weider than any of the above mentioned names

GenevaGirl said...

We say a guy from Liberia, I think, interviewed on the BBC. His name was Learnmore. We were LOL!

Here's a chuckle about black folks naming their kids:

http://www.reggaeboyzsc.com/forum1/showthread.php?t=15325

Now that I've re-read it, I'm wondering who wrote it. Still, it's funny.

Bklyn6 said...

^"Clitoria"?

Noooooo.... That can't be for real.

Slate did this one a couple of years ago about Super-black baby names.

Michael Fisher said...
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Michael Fisher said...

Lemme see:

"David". Hilarious name for a European or a West African. Odoaker would be more authentic. Merlin, too.

"Dick"

"Liz"

"Innocent" like Pope Innocent?

"Tracy"

Why the fuck do you like to play these racist games, David?

Undercover Black Man said...

Why the fuck do you like to play these racist games, David?


I sure hope you're joking, Michael.

Michael Fisher said...
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Michael Fisher said...

I'm serious. Those are the kind of games they play on stormfront.org and the VNN forum.

Bklyn6 said...

"Kenyan parents are no different from parents anywhere else in the world necessarily, but they do love to name their kids after headlines" e.g. Bill Clinton Okumu.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Lovely, Bklyn6!

GenevaGirl said...

I was just watching "The Face of Africa," a model search show. (There was NOTHING else on TV and I was too lazy to get up and get a book.) The last model picked for the semi finals in South African was Greatmore from Zimbabwe.

Could you imagine the Cover Girl ad with Greatmore?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ She should be a plus-sized model. :^o