by Umudjere S. Oghenebrorhie

The identity of Africa over the years, no doubt has been lost and replaced with a false and Western identity; we have faced several changes in the name, values, ethics, norms and morals as well as other activities comprising of our rich culture. The fate of Africa has now experienced a misdirection because of the lost Identity; we now suffer and become stereotyped for been true to the cultures of Africa. Many Africans now see their privileged values and norms as well as traditions as diabolic and unhealthy, non-conducive; they now see the need to exterminate such Africa cultural gadgets. The typical African now prefers to be called a European, addressed as a non-African and envisaged as an anti-Africa; we have now become agents militating against our own self-development. This is no doubt a successful plan of the Imperialists; they have been able to stage Africans against themselves why they watch us swallow ourselves; the more we stay away from Africa the hope of achieving Africa full freedom becomes Faraway.

The drum for Africa full freedom has been beaten long ago, decades past and years counting; the drum has been and still beating but we have not been able to dance to the sound of the drum. We keep dancing left when the sound signifies right. We can’t be agitating for full freedom when we don’t have our Identity; if we can reclaim our Identity then that’s freedom. You can’t claim to be fully free when you bear the names given to you by the colonialists, adhere strictly to the policies and laws put forward by the colonialists, respect and adore the norms and values of the colonialists; if you still find yourself in this realm, then you are not yet free!

The name you gave your children has symbolic and sacred meanings and blessings, why change them to the names put forward by the colonialists who are subjected tools of the Imperialists; if you must ascertain the fulfilment of your child’s destiny, then you must change your child’s to it’s original native name. This is a pathway to fulfilling destiny. Africa names have great and sacred meanings, they spell the future of the child, predict his life activities, enshrine his pathway and foresees his or her end. The giving of these names are not just for memorable experience or merry making but a Divine and Traditional duty of parents to bequeath their children the fortunes of life, many have acknowledged the importance and usefulness of these names as they have attested the great impact in their lives. If this is true:

1. Why did you change your name?
2. Why did you abandon your name?

This habit of changing and abandoning our natives have inflicted more pains than ever imagine; I am a victim so are many of us in Africa and in Diaspora, many have lost their route back home, they can’t have an ancestral line trace. The most painful part is that despite the grave consequences, families keep abiding by the ignorant change of names and it’s abandonment; they keep projecting the significance of colonialists’ names at the expense of our own native names.

Fortunate-coming, the recent action taken by the Monarch of the Africa country “Swaziland” has paved way for hope in reclaiming our Identity; the King of Swaziland “King Mswati III” has changed his country’s name from Swaziland to eSwatini. This was an act revealed by him during the country’s 50th independence celebration and his own coincidental 50th birthday; King Mswati III who.explained that “eSwatini” means a land of the Swazis in the local language emphasized the need to change the name of the country from Swaziland to eSwatini. He also stressed that eSwatini is the country’s original and native name before the British invaded and colonized it; he buttressed his decision with this note:

Africa countries on getting independence reverted to their ancient names before they were colonized; Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, Nyasaland became Malawi and Bechuanaland became Botswana.

King Mswati III also stressed the confusion of identity faced by the People of Swaziland as they are often mistook as citizens of Switzerland; this decision which he announced was a welcoming and long waiting decision expected from many of the country’s politicians. This act is indeed a welcome and promising attempt to reclaim our Identity thereby enforcing subsequent measures to achieving Africa full freedom. This is also an avenue for other countries in Africa to follow suite and enforce a change of their Colonialists’ names to their native names; it could be recalled that the British colonizers named the country of present day Burkina Faso as Upper Volta, but they rejected it, restructured and renamed themselves BURKINA FASO which means the land of incorruptible people. Same British named the country of present day Ghana as Gold Coast, they rejected it, restructured and renamed themselves GHANA; in same vein, the British named the country of present day Zimbabwe as Southern Rhodesia. They rejected it, restructured and renamed themselves ZIMBABWE. The British notwithstanding named the country of present day Zambia as Northern Rhodesia, they rejected it, restructured and renamed themselves ZAMBIA; same goes to the Germans who named the country of present day Namibia as Colony of South West Africa, they rejected it, restructured and renamed themselves NAMIBIA. France however did same when they named the country of present day Benin as Dahomey, they rejected it, restructured and renamed themselves BENIN; Belgium not been left out also named the country of present day Democratic Republic of Congo as Zaire but they later rejected it, restructured and renamed themselves DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. The British also named the country of present day Tanzania as Tanganyika, they rejected it restructured & renamed themselves TANZANIA.

From the above, it is a glaring truth that we must reclaim our identity by bearing our true native names; Nigeria and a host of other countries still bearing the colonial conceived names should endeavour to follow this pathway of reclaiming our identity in the bid to achieve full freedom.


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