Anyone who has a ‘difficult’ name knows how many times they get asked for a short and easy form. I get that question every day and though it used to bother me, I laugh about it now. I am learning to train people how to say my name and encourage them until they get it. No excuses.
I was given an English name at birth so I had always hidden my Afrikan name but the emerging Pan Afrikan in me choose to drop the English name when I needed to fill a form and all the names could not fit and it made sense to use my Afrikan name going forward. Something rose in my fourteen-year-old heart that knew it was the right thing even though I chose to shorten it for the sake of people around me.
20+ years later I realised just how important that choice had been.
Currently, I am going back to using the full form of my name…yes…the full form. Ironically, many people ask for a short form. Why? Simple, many think my name is very difficult. Granted it is different but not impossible. I am perplexed because we go to school to learn other people’s languages, we perfect our pronunciations of people’s names and even gain accents, but we do not want to learn the difficult local names. What is that about? Could it be that we do not value our own?
For so long we have sought to look ‘global’ enough to be appreciated that we forget just how valuable what we have is. Ethnic names have loaded meanings based on the person they come from to the long sentences that you would find in West Afrikan names. They speak to realities that are beyond what we know when taken in relation to the Word of God and our ordained path in Him. Our names give us perspective into the calling of our lives. I know people who had to change their names because they were out of alignment with their calling with amazing results.
Some parts of Afrika more than others, are devoted to their local names and it often comes from the understanding of who they are and the value of their names. There is beauty in local names, the stories behind them, the meanings, and callings. Additionally, names are spiritual; they bring things to life, they protect, they open doors.
All names have meanings no matter the language. Esther means star, so does Estelle, Stella and over 30 others. I think back to Matt 16:17-19 when Christ has an interaction with Simon about the revelation of who He was and when Simon answers, his name is changed to Peter and pronounced what his future would be. Saul had his Damascus road experience, and his name was changed to Paul as he started off on the journey to become an effective Apostle. A change of name aligned people to a future true to the meaning of the names given and lived by Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah etc.
The traditional meaning of my name hoped for, but there is so much more…
Faith is the substance of things…Kyesubire. Yet there is still more!! As my understanding of my name has grown, the reality of what it carries is greater. The reality of my name is Hope Expected. It is the certainty of something coming; the answer is definite. It means that whatever is promised is coming to pass. Now you understand why it is important that I use my name in full.
A few people I know have tried to get me to go back on my choice to go back to my short form from my full name but please understand, it is not about you and your comfort. It is about me and the path of my life. When we meet and I ask you what your name means, I want to understand you better and connect deeper. I also want you to understand your name, its meaning and value no matter what language it is in.
I have said it before and I will say it over and over, my name is Kyesubire and these days, I use the full version, no excuses, because it is more meaningful that way.