Letter from Africa: Why there was an uproar over the title Prince

A mother holds her smiling child during a visit of United Nations (UN) First Lady Ban Sun-taek (not pictured) at the Princess Marie Louise Children's Hospital in Accra on April 20, 2008.Picture copyright
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In our sequence of letters from African journalists, Elizabeth Ohene appears to be like into latest reviews that officers have been refusing to register infants with Ghanaian names and solely accepting European ones.

In Ghana, now we have a factor about names and titles. It begins at delivery, when there are numerous naming ceremonies.

The primary one occurs as quickly as a toddler is born and relies on the day of the week she or he arrives.

Thus Kwadwo, Komla, Kwaku, Yaw, Kofi, Kwami and Kwasi are the names for males born on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.

The feminine equivalents are Adzoa, Abena, Akua, Yaa or Yawa, Afua, Ama and Akosua.

Every week after the delivery, on the eighth day, we maintain an “outdooring” – a proper ceremony the place the mother and father announce the kid’s given title.

The day title continues to be used and later in life, it typically turns into your center title. My center title is Akua as a result of I used to be born on a Wednesday.

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Picture caption

The US star’s actual title was Prince Rogers Nelson – this may have been banned in Ghana

For Christians, afterward there can be a baptismal ceremony. Within the outdated days, monks used to insist that a baby ought to be given a Christian title – one that may be discovered within the Bible.

The biblical names given to kids can be English or German, as a result of the Bible was first delivered to Ghana by folks from these nations.

That’s the reason you may meet a number of Ghanaians known as John, James and Johann.

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A while later, there can be one other ceremony when mother and father go to register the kid on the Births and Deaths Registry.

Judging from latest occasions in Ghana, it will appear that issues have been coming to a head at this final naming ceremony.

The registry started refusing to register sure names that it deemed inappropriate.

This included names like Nana, Naa, Nii, Owula, Togbe, Junior and Prince – all of that are well-liked in Ghana.

The registry mentioned these names have been titles, not actual names, and that they have been supposed for chiefs and royals – not peculiar kids.

Nana’s closest equal in English is Your Royal Highness. That title, from the Akan language, additionally exists within the Ga language as Nii for boys and Naa for ladies.

The title Owula could be translated as Esquire, whereas the Ewe title, Togbe, actually means “grandfather” – indicating that the kid has been named in honour of their elder.

The registry additionally rejected names the place the English title got here after the native language title.

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Picture caption

The title of Ghana’s President – Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo – wouldn’t have been registered

Writs have been filed within the courts, questions have been requested in parliament and a Minister of State has needed to seem within the Home to reply questions on the topic.

He assured politicians and the folks of Ghana that the registry would settle for names that they’d been refusing to register.

The minister added that oldsters have been free to register native language names as first names, and English names as the center names.

This doesn’t imply that folks at the moment are free to provide their kids no matter names they need.

The registry is not going to register your baby as Honourable, Excellency, or Your Highness in English – however their Ghanaian equivalents, like Nana, are high-quality.

Their change of coronary heart is nice information for Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

It could have been very unusual if the registry had efficiently argued that a new era of Ghanaians couldn’t be known as Nana.

Extra Letters from Africa:

The teenager rescuing road kids in Nigeria

Why some Sudanese again the lecturer who beat his college students

Inside Africa’s WhatsApp’s gated communities

Braving slavery horrors for European dream

Lingering cultural colonialism

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