We have our own culture in Africa and we are proud of it. Yet we have very many names borrowed from other cultures especially the western. Borrowed names become the order of the day and it is hard for one to differentiate them from the local ones.
Names of Places
There are many places in our country which were borrowed. Here are some examples of such names:
- This is the name of a big market in our capital city, Nairobi. People come to this market from very far off places as you can find all that you need in this market. It is also a very cheap market. ‘Kariokor’ is derived from ‘carry your call’. It will be very hard for one to identify the name and its English version.
- This is a slum village in the capital too. It boasts of having very many prostitutes, drunkards and other low-class people. The name comes from ‘carry your bags’.
Names of Things
There are also things which have these borrowed names.
- These are three drums among the Abaluhya of the western province. The name also refers to a dance which accompanies the drums. The dance is characterized by the swaying of the hips and gyrating of many body parts. It is done by both men and women. The name came about when it was danced to some Europeans who enjoyed the dance so much that they exclaimed, ‘it is good’. That is how the name came about.
- This is a Swahili word for a cow. It is derived from India. It came about when the Indians came to construct the railway in our country.
Names of People
There are also people with such borrowed names. Here are examples:
- This is a name given to a girl. The name happens to have come from the wife of a missionary who came to preach the word of God. In honor to the missionaries, many girls came to be called that name. The borrowed name is a coined one from “Mrs. Baker.” You cannot place the two names on the same platter. They look worlds apart.
- This also happens to be a borrowed English name. Can you guess what it stands for? It stands for “Miss Reeves.” Reeves happened to be a missionary too. His name is associated with the Friends African Mission which is common in my area.
Our communities thrive from many borrowed names of which it is hard to convince even the locals that the names are not originally from the community. No man is an island and no community can stand alone.
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