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Opinions of Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

My slavish nomenclature is Peter Malory: Do I qualify for birth certificate?

Let us be honest, choosing a suitable name for your new born child can be challenging, and often stressful. Indeed, aside from the possible names on your mind, family and friends will offer suggestions of their own – whether you want them to or not.

In fact, there's no right or wrong way to choose a name for your child. But the most relevant consideration is to pick one you prefer. Both parents have absolute right to do so. It is no one’s business to meddle in the selection process, so to speak.

Of course, individuals have their absolute right to decide their preference with regard to taxonomic classification or nomenclature. However, I find it extremely abhorrent when bona fide Africans slavishly decide to scoff at rich African names, and, would obsequiously swap their rich names for ‘Western’ names.

With all due respect, and, no offence intended on this occasion, although someone like Madam Akua Donkor of Ghana Freedom Party does not have a classroom education, she harbours no vestiges of slavery as evidenced in her previous pronouncements.

I must confess I could not believe my ears when I once heard Madam Akua Donkor on the radio disclosing her inborn predilection for ‘Pan Africanism’.

Unlike the unliberated intellectuals who more often than not, take solace in the foreign culture, Madam Akua Donkor is rather antipathetic to the Western way of life, judging from her solemn narratives.

According to Madam Akua Donkor, she was christened as ‘Victoria Donkor by her biological parents, but after growing up and developing superior powers of the mind, she did not find the wisdom or the need in taking ‘Whiteman’s’ name, hence changing her birth name to Akua Donkor.

Madam Akua Donkor boldly and passionately asseverated: “tell me why I should take a ‘Whiteman’s’ name?” “Don’t I have my own culture?” “Would a ‘Whiteman’ ever name his child after me (Akua Donkor)?”

I was indeed dumbfounded to hear someone who had had no classroom education, yet so much liberated in the mind. Indeed, Madam Akua Donkor holds no slavish mentality.

Well, juxtaposing Madam Akua Donkor’s emancipated mind or her refined disposition with a self-acclaimed intellectual’s thought process brings nothing but melancholy, so to speak

Yes, we have self-acclaimed intellectuals who find it inappropriate to be called by their aboriginal names, but would rather take comfort in adopted ‘Western’ names. How bizarre?

So, for instance, an individual would choose ‘Peter Malory’ over ‘Kwaku Owusu Badu’. Sad, isn’t it?

It reminds me of a friend of mine who once questioned me about my reasons for refusing to give ‘English’ names to my boys.

According to my friend, the ‘English’ people will find it difficult to pronounce the names of my children, and therefore it was needless for me to give British born children the native Ghanaian names.

I was deeply baffled and equally alarmed upon listening to my friend’s thought process. However, I contained my emotional intelligence, and showed deference to my classroom educated friend, who is yet to liberate his mind to reach Madam Akua Donkor’s level.

All the same, my innocuous question to my friend was: “did our colonial Masters name their children after our great forefathers?

I proceeded: “Have you ever seen any Englishman who has named his child after our rich African names such as ‘Tetteh, Nkrumah, Busia, Danquah, Acheampong, Afrifa, Amu, Ayikwei, Quartey, Azumah, Gbedema, Atinga, Atuguba, Dramani, Kufuor, Addo, Akoto etc.???????????????????” I enquired.

Unsurprisingly, however, my friend answered no and then added that he has realised why I have given African names to my three boys.

Let us be serious for once; culture is unique and sacrosanct to a particular group of people, and hence cannot and must not be trampled upon anyhow.