Names have always fascinated me because I believe a name does influence a person’s character to a certain degree. When I meet someone for the first time, one of the first things I love doing is asking the meaning of their name and since I moved to South Africa it has been really nice hearing the different meanings (even if I struggle to pronounce the names) as there are so many unique and beautiful names here.
I have observed that my mates are giving their kids names I’m guessing they always wanted for themselves instead they give it to their off springs. Let me call them ‘ western/celebrity names’ such as Trey, Beyoncé (imagine being called Beyoncé in the year 2030 or later) another name that makes me cringe is Junior. Traditionally a junior was a child who has their father’s first, middle or last name, however some people still call their boys Junior even if their name doesn’t meet the above mentioned requirements which goes to show that the etiquette and rules of naming children are changing. So now we have a lot of Juniors running around just because their mother loved the word, mind you Junior isn’t really a name. I believe a name has power because in the past it related to something close to the name giver’s heart or it might be part of the the family history or culture.
I am fortunate to have a father who gave his girls meaningful names. My oldest and youngest sister’s names are a declaration of his gratitude to God (Ndapandula and Liinekela). The rest of my siblings have the most beautiful names(Tutala and Kulaumone). When I was growing up I never liked my name LAPAKA, probably because I just knew one other person who had the same name and it sounded and looked strange. This feeling was made worse by some people who didn’t even try to pronounce it properly instead they shortened it to words like Lapax or Pax and I remember in Primary School a boy called Albert would call me Labuschagne. That baffled me because Labuschagne has 5 more letters then Lapaka, it’s more difficult to pronounce and let me not even talk about the spelling. However my second name ALBERTINA sounded like it belonged to an old lady- (it was my grandmother’s name). At home I was called the Afrikaans translation of teacher which I thought was way better then my first and middle names. There was a time I secretly called myself Lesley but in my heart I felt it didn’t go well with my surname ( the perfectionist in me couldn’t connect the two names) so that phase didn’t last too long. When I was in university I decided to ask my dad what my name meant, I discovered it comes from an oshikwanyama proverb ELONGA LAPAKA IHA LUULU that describes a wealthy person who is humble. How rich is that and After doing some research I found out that my middle name means a NOBLE and BRIGHT person. So I’m practically walking around with people calling me Noble, Humble and Bright.
I am proud to tell everyone my name because it represents who I am/ destined to be. Words have meaning and names have power so choose your children’s name carefully.