Letter from Africa: Why there was an conflict over a name Prince

A mom binds her smiling child during a revisit of United Nations (UN) First Lady Ban Sun-taek (not pictured) during a Princess Marie Louise Children's Hospital in Accra on Apr 20, 2008.Image copyright
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In a array of letters from African journalists, Elizabeth Ohene looks into new reports that officials were refusing to register babies with Ghanaian names and usually usurpation European ones.

In Ghana, we have a thing about names and titles. It starts during birth, when there are many fixing ceremonies.

The initial one happens as shortly as a child is innate and is formed on a day of a week he or she arrives.

Thus Kwadwo, Komla, Kwaku, Yaw, Kofi, Kwami and Kwasi are a names for males innate on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.

The womanlike equivalents are Adzoa, Abena, Akua, Yaa or Yawa, Afua, Ama and Akosua.

A week after a birth, on a eighth day, we reason an “outdooring” – a grave rite where a relatives announce a child’s given name.

The day name is still used and after in life, it mostly becomes your center name. My center name is Akua since we was innate on a Wednesday.

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Image caption

The US star’s genuine name was Prince Rogers Nelson – this would have been criminialized in Ghana

For Christians, after on there will be a baptismal ceremony. In a aged days, priests used to insist that a child should be given a Christian name – one that can be found in a Bible.

The biblical names given to children would be English or German, since a Bible was initial brought to Ghana by people from those countries.

That is because you’ll accommodate lots of Ghanaians called John, James and Johann.


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Some time later, there would be another rite when relatives go to register a child during a Births and Deaths Registry.

Judging from new events in Ghana, it would seem that things have been entrance to a conduct during this final fixing ceremony.

The registry began refusing to register certain names that it deemed inappropriate.

This enclosed names like Nana, Naa, Nii, Owula, Togbe, Junior and Prince – all of that are renouned in Ghana.

The registry pronounced these names were titles, not genuine names, and that they were dictated for chiefs and royals – not typical children.

Nana’s closest homogeneous in English is Your Royal Highness. That name, from a Akan language, also exists in a Ga denunciation as Nii for boys and Naa for girls.

The name Owula can be translated as Esquire, while a Ewe name, Togbe, literally means “grandfather” – indicating that a child has been named in honour of their elder.

The registry also deserted names where a English name came after a internal denunciation name.

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Image caption

The name of Ghana’s President – Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo – would not have been registered

Writs have been filed in a courts, questions have been asked in council and a Minister of State has had to seem in a House to answer questions on a subject.

He positive politicians and a people of Ghana that a registry would accept names that they had been refusing to register.

The apportion combined that relatives were giveaway to register internal denunciation names as initial names, and English names as a center names.

This does not meant that people are now giveaway to give their children whatever names they want.

The registry will not register your child as Honourable, Excellency, or Your Highness in English – though their Ghanaian equivalents, like Nana, are fine.

Their change of heart is good news for Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

It would have been really bizarre if a registry had successfully argued that a new era of Ghanaians could not be called Nana.

More Letters from Africa:

The teen rescuing travel children in Nigeria

Why some Sudanese behind a techer who kick his students

Inside Africa’s WhatsApp’s gated communities

Braving labour horrors for European dream

Lingering informative colonialism

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