The magnitude of our Afrikan names and our identity as AfroDescendants
Many Afrikâtus answer to foreign names they do not know their meanings to – you might wonder why all my three names and last name are completely African? I was born on July first of 1975 at 05:00 am, in the “Athens” of South America —Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia as —Armando Mosquera Moreno Jr. I am the first born child of my mother, but at the same time, I’m the fourth in my father’s personal account. I am the Son of the Lawyer and politician Armando Mosquera Aguilar and the Fashion Designer Gloria Elena Moreno Colorado. As an adult, I realized how significant our African names are to us, and in the assertion of my identity as an Afrikâtus Afroide (AfroDescendant) —I freed the memory of my ‘enslaved ancestors’ and renounced to the European names they were imposed to.
With the idea to reach into my African roots, I adopted a new identity based on my ethnic principals. This time as Giunëur Bomani Barûle Mõşi:
Giunëur —of Wolof origins — this word comes from the Fulani tribes of Guinea, meaning nothing more than “Son of his father.”
Bomani —Ngoni origins — signifying “A Great Warrior” in honor of the United States Marine Corps, from which I proudly am a Veteran.
Barûle —AfroBarûlean origins — name adopted in honor to The Great King Barûle.
And finally for the family name (last name), I chose Mõşi —of Swahili origins— which means “First born child” in honor of my Mother.
For us AfroDescendants, names are a part of our identity. Identity should not be taken as an identification mark, but as in whom we really are. A name tells a lot about the person who bears it. This means that a name carries its own personality, an identity and in fact, a destiny. This is why within the African society much care and importance is given when naming a child. Africans do not just name their children carelessly, but take time to study the situation and prevailing circumstances of that specific moment in life, before they give a name to a child. There is a belief that names carry along with them, the tendency of influencing the bearer for good or evil.
It is a generally accepted fact, that there is a meeting point between the name a person bears and his/her soul. What this means, is that the name tries to define the bearer, his/her existence. By the name alone, an intelligent mind can begin to deduce certain facts about the family of the bearer, the family’s intentions for the future of the bearer, as well as their hopes, aspirations and philosophy of life. An Igbo man who gives the Igbo name “Ogadinma” (meaning: it shall be good) to a child; does not just give the child the name because he loves the way it sounds, it has a very deep meaning for the family. For the man, this name might mean that the family is presently undergoing some difficulties, but there is the strong hope that things shall soon get better. Remember, you cannot think of having one and same translation for all African names. The intrinsic meaning perhaps is fully understood only by the name giver. This is because; meanings can be read into a particular name by the giver, depending on the circumstances he/she was going in the course of the time the name was given.
Ask yourself why is it that today is ‘normal’ to see an AfroDescendant person bearing a name such as: Jordan, Do Nacimento, Sanders, Jean-Pierre, or simply Lozano, Cuesta, or Moreno, to mention a few? But it is weir and even ‘funny’ to see a person of Asian Descent with a name for instance as: Montes, Vazquez, Smith, Pasteur, or any other identity out of their ethnic belonging.
Our kidnapped ancestors from Africa and later ‘enslaved’ in this ‘new world’, did not arrived named as: Brown, nor Jackson, nor Rubião, nor much lees as Mosquera, nor Sanchez, etc. etc. They proudly came with names such as: Mandela, Mbwango, Bangura, Ndumbe, Obenga, Kebede… and many more that really represented our ethnic origins. Why do we have to keep sponsoring the theft of our identity by bearing one which does not belong to us?
Apart from the fact, that a name tells a lot about the identity of the carrier, it also immortalizes him/her. This is because for us Africans, a human being lives on, even after death. The general belief, is that an individual does not die when the soul ceases to live in the body, but true death only occurs when a person is entirely forgotten by his/her people. The easiest way in which someone can ever be forgotten, is when the person’s name is erased from the family history, so let’s keep our loved ones in our memories alive for ever. —Due to the historical background of our African names, a maximum respect is demanded for them.
Let’s bring our ancestors identity back to life and let’s call ourselves as we really should!
Giunëur B. Mõşi