Mrs who now? Whats in a name?


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What’s in a name? That which we call a
rose by any other name would smell as
sweet-
William Shakespeare

If you know me you have probably figured out that I love a good argument.  Any argument that will raise tempers and end with words like “let’s agree to disagree”.
So on this day, there was a fierce argument in one of my WhatsApp groups. Ok, maybe it wasn’t that fierce. But it was the “let’s agree to disagree” kind.
The argument was sparked by words from Stella Nyanzi’s Facebook post which goes something like
“I never changed my last name even after I married”….
well good for her right?
“…….this practice is typical among radical feminist”, she goes on to say.

Of course, this post did not sit well with some guys in the said WhatsApp group. They shredded her character, they pissed on her ‘art’ and when I thought it was over, they compared her to Graca Machel, Clintons wife and Merkel. So not cool. Or fair.

For this particular argument, I was on the sidelines. I had nothing to say about Stella since I am not acquainted with her work. I got to know though that she is a forty-something-year-old woman who talks about her Va jay jay a bit too much. I probably will find her on FB later but am not jumping cliffs to do it.

The other reason I reserved my comments is because I totally agreed with her point in keeping my given name. I was a bit scared to point this out to the group since they would probably ignore my sentiments cringe. I have serious issues with being ignored or they will try to push the “a woman should come second to the head of the house” mindset down my throat. I don’t subscribe to this school of thought.

To my sentiments on adopting my husband’s name.

I would keep my given name for two reasons only and it has nothing to do with being a radical feminist. Radical feminist? What does that even mean. .

The first reason is that I love my name.  I feel it is grand in an African sort of way. I literally shudder at the thought of adopting a name that is not as grand as mine. Come on now you know Andanje is an awesome name :-). So before I adopt a name like ‘Elephant’ I have to really consult with my ancestors.  Like I have to pour libations and call an ancestor’s name three times. The ancestors have to deem the name I adopt worthy.

Let’s not forget that people may take the name ‘Elephant’  to mean my size. I do know am a bit on the plump side (call me fat and I cut you).

The second reason I may not adopt my husband’s surname is that I just don’t want people to expect someone else when they hear my name. When you hear Andanje am sure you have pictured a set of dimples and a round face. No?

So imagine me being married to a Kamba dude named George Mutua Peters.  Seriously though what’s  with Kambas and English surnames?

So imagine me being called on a podium to accept an award.(my dreams are valid).
The speaker will shout, “ladies and gentlemen, pause, the award for best personality goes to, pause, Ruth Peters.

Oh I forgot to mention I am called Ruth. Doesn’t that name remind you of an old aunt?
So imagine this short plump and dark as hades female sauntering to the podium. I am sure some would laugh.  Some will wonder if a reverse bleach formula had been discovered and the hater, yes you get a lot of those when you are receiving an award) will snicker and point out that even your name is not African enough.

So you see why I wouldn’t adopt my husband’s name.

Unless of course his last name is Elba. Then I will be forced to adopt both his names.
“Give a round of applause for Mrs. Idris Elba sigh

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After all, what is in a name?



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7 thoughts on “Mrs who now? Whats in a name?

  1. I think writing is an art, and one of the key purposes of art is to evoke responses. I think Stella Nyanzi has mastered the art. She speaks without inhibition on topics that are taboo in a highly conservative society, making people talk and think differently about such topics. Stella’s boldness inspired me to write, when I was hid shyly in my cocoon.

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  2. You can follow her on Facebook. Her name is Stella Nyanzi. I think when people begin to question and talk about what they should not, it opens society up to think more critically on just about every aspect of societ

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  3. This one just got me in stiches! What a great read! But let’s face it, we are uniquely African and our heritge can only make sence if it’s viewed in light of the African backdrop. The only barrier to such research is the seldom availbility of written manuscripts for the outstanding oral tradition. This discrepency has allowed biased intonations and foreign ideology to darken and mistify (in the negtive sense), these wonderous ideologies whose influence preceedes them. The real discussion in my opinion should be on why the idea of name change has so defied the passing of time that it permiates our era. And after learning this, then we can reach a consensus on the issue.
    Regars, Eugene.

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    1. Eugene I do agree with you. We can carry our cultures to modern times. Allow me to explains something If I may, In the African society the boys and girls would be separated at a certain age. Then both would undergo rigorous training in what makes them adults. At the end the husbands and wives would be top notch. What we have today is a bunch of people who want one sex to know what being a wife is all about. While the other gets away with being male. That is not right!

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      1. I wrote that in the wrong context 😦 my apologies. Name change in African society is also losing its meaning. Someone told me it’s too much work to change documents after marriage so no one is doing it

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