I met a young African child recently with a beautiful African name. She was very dark-skinned and very beautiful. I also have my grandmother visiting me for the week and when I reflect on the names of everyone in my family, we were given names of our colonizers. David. My dad. Olivia. My mom. Isabel. John. Anne. Louise. Pierre. My sister Amanda. My own name, Marie.
What if we had been given the names of the language of our African tribespeople? Kokumo. Nomolanga. Chaonaine. Dziko. Kofi. Fatima. What if I had Aunty Morowa instead of Aunty Catherine? I would likely be interested in finding out about my African roots, as Morowa means Queen. These are beautiful words, and beautiful names from Twi, Swahili and other African dialects. Yet, the babies being born on my West Indian island have names like Robert, Charlene and Kimberly.
Dziko means the wocajd. And we are a world away from our roots. We have been colonized and brainwashed, but we can still teach ourselves and our children to be proud, Black people with our rich history and roots. I wished I had given my own son an African name, but at the time he was born, I wasn’t yet conscious. I only thought in terms of societal norms and names like Ethan and Charlie came to mind. If I have a second child, I surely won’t use a Protestant English or French name. It will be an African name because that is a reminder that we are and were our own free people.