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The names of child do not just come from parent, but grandparents have to give, at least, a name too. For some children who have great grandparents, then they definitely will get ten names, names they may never remember. Some are lucky to get just two names because grand parents are dead. The funny thing about some names is that they could be a three in one names.
Not that I’m against someone having a hundred names or a seven in one name, but most Nigerians don’t get jaw friendly names like George Bush, Bill Clinton. (Though his real name is William Jefferson Rogers. Maybe it won’t make presidential seat or sell his book titled My Life.) They (most Nigerians) don’t get memorable names that could sell books.
I overheard a Nigerian traditional chief saying, “ What’s meaning of Bush? Jungle or forest? And Gate is what? But a name like Oluwafemi means God loves me. Oluwatoyin means God be praised. Our names are names that makes sense.” I agree with him. Whether a name has a meaning or not is not issue, but how could tradition be so cruel to even have to decide kind of wife or husband to marry or where he or she comes from. For better understanding, I will put myself in a Nigerian’s shoes.
If I have come a long way impressing a girl and finally making her fall in love with me and we’ve talked about how happy we would live together. Then I bring her before my parent, according to tradition, so they could meet my kind of wife, all I might end up hearing is, “she isn’t right for you.” Not that they feel she wouldn’t love me in ten years time. No! I can’t marry her because she is from that tribe, which went into a conflict with my tribe in sixteenth century or I can’t marry her because her past two generations were Muslims. Though she has changed her faith, I still can’t marry her because she was born a Muslim.
I know Holy Book (Bible) says, “Parents know better,” (Paraphrased) but do they have to inflict on present generation harrowing pains of past conflict hidden in their hearts? Do they have to take away what I am sure would give me happiness rest of my days?
You might say “I could marry her against their will.” Yes, I thought of that. But many who have done that end up miserable in life. Don’t know if it’s some kind of supernatural force behind whole traditional stuff.
And, if I eventually let go of that beautiful girl who never turned out to be my wife and I marry someone else, tradition comes in again if she has no male child. She needs to give me a son that would continue family tree. I might be unmoved by this, but tradition would not forgive her as they expect me to take another wife.
If after years of being married and I pass on at a perceived young age, she would need to cut her hair to her hairline in name of mourning my death. Her punishment for not having a male child is she stands to lose her position as my wife and never gets a pin even if I willed everything to her.
Then if from childhood to adulthood, a child is subjected to tradition, when does he learn to be governed by his heart or mind? When can he or she make a decision that would bring lifetime happiness? I’m still trying to figure that as an adult who is under same tradition.
Coming soon, “Haiku with love” An inspiring poetry collection by A.Z. Alfred. To be published by Author House, USA. for his works and contect goto:www.writesight.com/blackzeal101 or mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org
A.Z. Alfred is a writer and a motivational speaker whose greatest pleasure is observing the world through a window while listening to inspirational songs.