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The Names Parents Give!

As a priest, Fr Charles Sewava has probably heard his fair share of unusual names during baptism.

Some parents are so innovative they give their children names such as Kintu Something. Yes, one young man’s real name is Kintu Something. But back to Fr Sewava. While he probably has heard those names, he hasn’t had chance to see how some of the children take to them. That was until one pair of parents asked him to counsel their son.

He did not mention the problematic name, but he says that the boy was so unhappy that he had come to greatly dislike the Catholic church where he was baptised.

“This boy wasn’t attending church anymore. His friends had teased him so much and he wanted his name changed,” said Fr Sewava during Saint of the day show on Radio Maria.

The priest urged parents had to be careful while selecting names for their children. For instance Candida Maria de Jesus is a perfect saint -her day is marked on August 9 by Roman Catholics. But a child may not take kindly to being named Candida, especially when she mentions her name and people, who are ignorant about St Candida, ask why she has a disease’s name. Or whether that is really her name.

One woman in her twenties once said in a blogpost that it was tiring to tell inquirers that “yes, that is really my name”. She is called Princess.

Darren, whose work requires that he looks at people’s identification cards, says that he has been floored by some of the names he has seen. He reported seeing Kintu Something’s ID quickly looking up and smiling, hoping to prompt him to say that name was his own creation. Kintu, however, gave him a look suggesting that any comments about his name were not welcome.

“But parents! How can you name your child Something Something?” Darren wonders.

He has also been handed an ID bearing the name Selekta Musoke or Mukasa – he does not remember the last name. Julie wonders how some parents can name a child Dick Wanasolo, as one of her workmates is called.

“His parents probably did not know the meaning of Dick, but then they are passing the name Wanasolo down to their children,” says Julie, a Muganda.

African names:

One woman in her late twenties was given four beautiful African names by her Pan-Africanist father and he did his best to explain to her why he chose those names for her she was an African and deserved all African names. He also told her that he named her after his mother, whom he truly loved.

As she grew older, the girl began to understand where her father was coming from, she says. But, she has kept the English name she gave herself. While in primary school, teachers used to ask what her English name was and she gave herself one. She did not want to be the sore thumb, albeit with meaningful names, that stuck out.

She echoes Fr Sewava’s sentiments parents should consider certain factors before choosing names: will a name, for instance, raise undue attention to the poor child?

Source : The Observer

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The Disability Law and Rights Centre (DLRC), School of Law, Makerere University with support from
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