Blacks worldwide are living in the first centuries and decades since the end of slavery and colonization. One enduring reminder of this is our names. While many of us have come to embrace last names that originated in Europe, one South African organization is attempting to reverse the effect of colonialism on names.
“We have started decolonising our countries – from changing the names of our African countries, to changing street names – so why are we not changing our names, which is the core of our identity?” Maseko asks.
In African culture a name is not just a name. It has great significance as it tells a story of a person’s life from the day they were born about who they are meant to become,” he explains.
“Having colonial names takes us back in history as black people, it’s a reminder of how our great-grandparents names were changed by their colonial masters. Why should we keep names that remind us of such, and names that remind us of how inferior we were. We cannot still have colonial names in our ID books, because our ID – that is who we are,” Maseko says.
As a teacher, Maseko says he’s come across many learners who are on a quest to find their identity. And while he understands that black consciousness goes far beyond changing a name, he believes that having an African name is the beginning of the journey towards understanding who you are as an African.
Ladies, what are your thoughts? Would you consider this if the option was available to you?