Ghanaian Names Return: A Trend?

Recently, Ghanaian traditional names seem to have gained popularity. FAF spotted it first here.

He writes:
A trend that I've seen lately though suggests that might be about to change in the next generation. I cant say I've done much research into this so it's based largely of a few friends that I'd lost contact wiht suddenly popping up on Facebook and other places with the English names gone.

It's nothing drastic like coming up with a whole new name, just simply dropping the English one and letting the usually Ghanaian middle names take precedence.

Victoria is now Nana Ama
Isaac is Nene
Franklin changed to Kojo Ohene
Raymond morphed into Paa Kojo
Dorcas likes to be called Nana Konadu
Bright is now Kwame

The phenomenon is jokingly called "Name Dropping", by above mentioned blogger. Remember where you heard it first!

So, Ghanaians like their Ghanaian names - and why shouldn't they?

As a foreigner living in this country I have also adopted one. I'm EwuraAma to some friends, neighbors, business contacts unhidden joy. Sometimes I use it beacuse it is practical. My Swedish name (Tagsa? Aiysha?) is often not heard right and NEVER spelled right - but other times it isn't even about practicality, I just want to show people I care about Ghanaian culture and that I am trying my best to be a part of it.

At the other end, I also find it easier to remember Ghanaian names since they many times can be related to a weekday, which leads to a discussion "oh, so you are also born on a Saturday, then we're twins!" or "I have a good friend who is also a Thursday born!".

The only problem with this trend is that sometimes when I meet with friends half of us, both men and women, are called Nana!

Pic: Painting at the DuBois Center that I snapped some time back and I now feel illustrates this topic very well.


Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

I have also seen this popping up and I hope it continues. Paa Kwasi Ndoum, the former CPP presidential candidate was called Joseph Houston York...and I wonder if that is not more than an American would take?

Anonymous said...

So how is your name pronounced? I'm pretty sure I am saying it wrong.

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Great observation, both! See oh, I am David, but wish to be known as Nana Yaw.

Edward: said...

An application is coming up very soon to make the name dropping possible for everyone. I wouldn't say much, I will just surprise you with is when it is heard it from me first..!!

Abena said...

This is a particularly exciting trend for me since I was given Abena Serwaa from birth and my older brother was named Kwabena Adjapong. Growing up in Southern Africa did not help the situation much for us. I'm ashamed to say that around the age of 10 I wanted a name change to something like Annabelle. That was a completely ridiculous thought! I'm really proud of my name and would not change it for the world.

Almost everybody I know my age here in Ghana has English/Christian names. Some have opted to drop these names..for example, you would never know that my officemate's first name is Dominic since he uses his second name Dziedzom.

I have definitely observed more parents moving towards the Africanization trend. Some years ago, we did research in a middle-class urban school and many of the children had only traditional names. I did not observe the same trend in rural schools.

Kajsa Hallberg Adu said...

@Nana: Thanks I dod not know that of Ndoum! I guess it adds to FAF's and my thesis.

@Anon The correct way to say my name is close to "Kaiser" (like the American aluminium company, yes) since the "j" in Kajsa is pronounced like an "i" and the "a":s are Swedish/germanic ones rather than English.

@Edward. An application...? This makes me curious.

@Abena. Thanks for your story and the scientific proof I did not provide for this story!

@Nana, please also see the discussion that followed on FAFs post.

Faf said...

Hey Kajsa, thanks for the cover.

@Edward... very curious about this app. Will it suggest names for one based on english names?

@Abena... sounds liek you dodged a bullet there.

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