With every new day, there is an increasing number of Black people (both Africans, and African Diaspora), who want to know more about their history and heritage, the power in our names as Africans, and who express their anger and distaste about the wickedness of the Caucasian world to Black people. There are more and more awakened Black people who want nothing to do with European ideologies, religion, and thoughts.
But one thing we have realized is that no matter how much many Black people speak against slavery and its effects today in Africa, America, and Europe, on Black people, they still maintain and use the names of their oppressors. It is safe to say that about 70% of Black people in America still go by European names, while about 60% of Africans in the mother continent, still use the names of their colonizers and oppressors.
During slavery, Africans who were taken to America and Europe were forced to take the names of their white masters. After many years, many of the enslaved Africans forgot their roots and names and stayed with the names of their oppressors. They got to hand down their “slave names” to their children, and their children did the same. And today, in America, Europe, and all over the world, you will find millions of Black people going by purely European names, when actually they are Africans who should answer African names.
It is only a handful of our brethren who have taken it upon themselves to do research and find out their roots in Africa and take a name from their ethnic nationality. Many African-Americans do not care to find out their origins. Many do not care to get an African name, but still, they complain about slavery, white brutality, and segregation. But the truth remains that even though the fight against racism and modern-day slavery, fundamentally, you are still “enslaved.” You are still enslaved till you CHANGE that name and get an African name. And we are not just talking about a first name – we are talking about a complete African identity.
If we must be taken seriously about our emancipation, then we must be radical about such things as our identity.
During colonization, the Europeans infiltrated Africa with their Christian missionaries, who preached about Jesus being the way, and how our ways were evil and demonic. They somehow were able to convince our people that European names were better than African names. And soon we had shallow Africans take up the European names and immediately, our identity as Africans started to die. And after almost a century that the Europeans have left, we have Africans who have even gone ahead to drop their indigenous surnames and taken up Europeans first names and surnames.
What self-hate!!! How can you as an African strip yourself of your heritage, identity and name and take up that of a European, just the way it was forced down on our brethren who were taken into slavery? Are you a slave or a free man? Answer me this, dear African.Chuka nduneseokwu
What is more annoying in Africa, especially in West Africa, is that African Christians drop their ancestral surnames on the basis that the names are evil, demonic, and cursed. They drop them and pick up a European name, which often are names of supposed Christian Saints. So, after long exposure to brainwashing in Christianity, you will find an African going by Esther Mathew, Simon Jude, etc. Now what kind of self-hate would you call that?
Even if you somehow are convinced that your ancestral name is cursed, and portend evil, can’t you choose another indigenous “holy name” to use? Why would you delete your identity totally? That is not right.
When you go to Europe, you don’t see them answering African names. You don’t see white people answering Chukwuka Okafor, Kwame Mensa, Busola Tosin, Haruna Idris, etc. You will only see them answering their Scott Davidson, Helen Johnson, etc. This is because they are Europeans, and their names are their identities.
The same thing with the Chinese, Indians, Arabs, and many other races. They stick to their names and identities, no matter their interaction with Europeans for hundreds and thousands of years. They do not drop their identity for once. Only the Black man does that.
The Exception of Marriage
The only time when taking a European (white person’s) surname should be normal is when an African woman is getting married to a European. By default, after marriage, you can take his surname but still maintain your African first name.
Africans have no reason to answer the names of their enslavers and oppressors. Many of us might want to argue and say the world is a global village now, but that is just plain myopia and low self-esteem. If the world was a global village, why are Europeans not answering African names?
We owe it to our ancestors and to our next generation to reverse this disgraceful act of abandoning who we are for something else. We owe it to our children to retrace our steps and be 100% Africans.
The process of changing your name is one of the easiest things to do in many countries. Your old documents will still bear your old slave name, while your new documents will bear your new name as a TRUE AFRICAN. If you don’t know how to go about it, you can ask questions. Any lawyer would guide you accordingly.
AFRICANS are great people. Let us show that in our attitude, names, culture, achievements, and enterprise. Let no one tell you that your name is not good enough. Let no enslave you any further.
THERE IS POWER IN OUR AFRICAN NAMES.
The article was written by Chuka Nduneseokwu, Editor-in-Chief, Liberty Writers Africa.
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