I am blessed as an African to have an identity, but this identity was ridiculed and threatened by my own. While I loved my name and what it meant, I had questioned it a few times based on how my peers made me feel.
It was a difficult thing trying to decipher why they would laugh at the mention of my name since we all grew up in the same country, until I grew up. I felt sad but at that age, I wanted to change my name real bad and have one like theirs.
A few of them would ask “how come your name is so local?” I smiled each time and told them because I was local.
That was so they stopped bothering me, but my mother would always have it when I got home that day from school.
“Mum, why don’t I have a name like yours?” I would ask almost angry that I was given this name.
She would smile and say, “son, no one gets confused when their eyes are closed and they hear your name, they immediately know you are African, but I think that they would get confusedif they heard mine because they would be inclined to think that I was European, your name is powerful, your ancestors have blessed you and so anytime you go to school and they bother you,tell them that” She would say.
I felt better and the next day with my chest out, proud and bold, I would tell them how important my name was.
It’s been many years since grade school and now, I see most of my colleagues change their names to assume their local identity. Love your name and by all means, don’t settle for any compromises.
My country Ghana has over 46 dialects spoken all across the country and perhaps a few more that are not documented yet. In a recent conversation with a friend on social media I was inclined to give my response to an observation he made by writing in his local dialect, Ga.
Instead of saying thank you in English, I wrote in Ga “Oyiwaladon” while thank you in my language means “medaasi” the same response is rather in-depth in the Ga language. The delivery of the response is a bestowment of blessings.
It talks about life, and the extension of it. The statement is an invocation of a certain exoteric order. I am trying to understand why the Ga’s respond in this manner which is different from many other tribes in Ghana.
Ga is classified as Kwa languages, often specified as New Kwa, are a proposed but as yet undemonstrated family of languages spoken in the south eastern part of Ivory coast, across Southern Ghana, and in central Togo.
The name was introduced in 1895 by Gottlob Krause and derives from the word for ‘people’ (Kwa) in many of these languages, as illustrated by Akan names.
It’s interesting to note that the Ga language is a western representative of the western Kwa subfamily of languages within the Niger-Congo family. It has a closer relationship to Yoruba in its tonality and cognates than to the immediately neighboring sub family of Akan languages and an even closer relationship to its eastern neighbor, Ewe. It’s understandable why it’s similar to Yoruba. I think part of this history is due to the fact that the Ga’s had migrated from Ketu in Nigeria and settled in Ghana. For me, what remains interesting is the composition of the words.
I have also noticed how the Ga’s refer to the divine presence of God. Ataa Naa Nyumo which translates to represents both male and female. Ataa which means father, elderly and Naa referring to queen. So again, my analysis is why they chose to use the male figure to represent the elderly, father and refer to the female as queen in the God head? Many other tribes refer to God as a male and quite intriguing that the Ga’s see both. Permit me to conclude, that the Ga’s don’t discriminate when it comes to having the best representation of the divine head.