• September 24th, 2020

Respect original indigenous African names

Names, especially among indigenous African people, denote identity, carry cultural and contextual meanings, and represent in some instances, ethical, moral and educational values. 

The Security Cluster in Namibia, as part of the Deployment Plan for Countrywide Lockdown in Zone 2, Kavango East, has a checkpoint with the name ‘’Evero Crossing.’’  I grew up near this village.  My lower primary education was at Katere Primary School, which is very close to this specific checkpoint, but I have never heard about this name. The village where the checkpoint is situated is known as Kayova, and the riverside as Kashipe. Against this background, it was strange to become aware of the new coined name after it was used in an official and legal government document referred to earlier namely, the Deployment Plan for Countrywide Lockdown. I am also not aware when the name was changed, who has changed it, and who has approved the name change? The Lockdown Security Cluster Public Relations Representatives and the Gciriku Traditional Authority could perhaps shed light and enlighten us about these questions. The other concern that arises is whether it is appropriate and legally acceptable in Namibia to use a non-existent and or non-officially recognised name in official government documents. The new coined name is also inconsistent with the orthography of the language, and linguistically unintelligent. As a result, it contributes to miseducation. We do not have any other place in the Gciriku area that starts with a vowel namely. a, e, i, o and u, unless it is through borrowing of words or misrepresentation, especially by the colonialists. The writings and reference to Kavango as ‘’Okavango’’ is also incorrect and linguistically unintelligent. The new coined name thus invites scholarly curiosity to inquire about its origin. As one of the speakers of the language and an educationist, I feel offended when public officials carelessly coin names without due regard to the expected sensitivity towards the speakers of the language in a multilingual and cultural diverse society. Also taking into account the impact of colonial disrespect for indigenous African names and languages, and thus continue to perpetuate colonial attitudes of disrespect for African languages, indigenous knowledge systems, and indigenous cultural values in post-colonial contexts.

Staff Reporter
2020-05-12 09:39:53 | 4 months ago

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