Naming

Now that you are pregnant you will probably start thinking about naming your baby.
Many cultures in Africa prescribe naming norms. For example, the eldest boy may be named after his paternal grandfather, and the eldest girl after the paternal grandmother. In other cases, the baby's paternal grandmother, or the father, decides what name the child should bear. In most cases, children have more than one name. In some communities a child bears a name from the paternal side, and one from the maternal side, and relatives use one or the other, depending on which side they are. It is also the case that even where the culture prescribes which name a baby should be given, there is some leeway for an additional name, where you can exercise flexibility. For example, a girl may bear her grandmothers ethnic name, but you have the freedom to select a so called 'western' name .


 

Things to consider

When it comes to naming a few things to consider include


1. Your baby is an individual, no matter who they are named after. Do not let your relationship with the person your child was named after get in the way of your relationship with your child. 
2. Help your child to see themselves as unique individuals no matter who they were named after, or what their name means.
3. Do not let relatives treat your children preferentially just because they were named, or not named, after their side of the family.
4. If your child has a culturally prescribed name that you don't like you can always have your own special name for the child, like a nick name.
5. Where you have the freedom to select a name, think about its meaning, and what perception of your child it will create in future. Some names lend themselves to teasing, and this can affect your child emotionally in future.
6. The most common names in most cultures are common because they have the most beautiful meanings.
7. Stories about names and where they came from are a great way to pass on family heritage and culture so do some homework around that.
8. Be consistent on all documents such as birth certificate and school records,   as variations in names can have significant legal implications.
9. You don't have to go with an existing name – you could create your own unique name!
10. Do involve your partner in selecting baby's name. If you decide to bring up your child as a single parent do check with a lawyer or some one knowledgeable about the implications of putting or not putting your partners name on the birth certificate.


If you are still looking for a name, there are many websites that list African names, and some of them allow you to add a name if it's missing.