Names part 2

When you ask someone their name in Uganda, you need to listen out for the last part.  For example, I would say, “My name is Brown Stuart”.  The problem is that it is very difficult to hear when the last part starts, as it will inevitably be preceded by an extremely complicated Rukiga name.

“My name is Tushemerirwe Keith.”

The Rukiga part is not a family name but rather a statement that has a meaning.  Using the above example, the name Tushemerirwe means ‘we are happy’, so presumably the parents had not planned to have that child and saw his arrival as a blessing.

In Uganda the oldest son inherits his father’s property, so if you have no son you have no heir.  A Ugandan friend of mine, Gloria, was at college with a girl who was not only the seventh child but also the seventh daughter, which was not necessarily appreciated by the parents.  Obviously they still loved her, so named her Bonabaana, the meaning of which is basically ‘Well, even a daughter is a person so we may as well keep her’!

If Bonabaana Jane married Tushemerirwe Keith, she would drop Bonabaana and become Jane Tushemerirwe.  However, their children will not have the name Tushemerirwe.  I know, complicated!

*Back to part 1 of Ugandan names.


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