29.06.2020 Feature Article

If You Missed Your Tradition, Don't Let Your Child Miss A Traditional Name

If You Missed Your Tradition, Don't Let Your Child Miss A Traditional Name
29.06.2020 LISTEN

Early this morning whilst I was preparing to go to school, I found myself doing many things at the same time. My hands were pressing my wife’s clothes; my eyes staring at the children still asleep, who would not wake up to see me before I left for school. My ears were tuned to Rev Pastor Stephen Wegam on citi FM. Yet the ceiling fan provided some cooling air in the room. My mind is memorizing the things I read the previous night for the examination ahead of me.

Sadly, I saw a newspaper item about a man who lost his wife at the Ridge hospital allegedly due to wrong prescription of drugs and negligence. Atop it, some nurses were laughing at the doctor’s wrong prescription as the woman was battling for her dear life. Lying on her bed, she’d heard the nurses converse loudly that she’d been given a wrong drug. The husband came. The nurses could not still stop laughing. The poor woman died.

But this alleged action of the nurses struck me to the bone. I pondered if such nurses had never taken the Nightingale Pledge. Or rather they had forgotten that by that oath they’re committed to caring for the sick with all the skill they possessed, as did Nightingale. Perhaps, they have forgot that they have been called to safeguard life, alleviate pain and promote health. But no matter how indiscipline you are, you cannot agree with your conscious to urinate in a sacred place like the temple or the mosque.

Then I realized I have found myself mentally engaged in a lot things whiles the iron on the light socket gave my dress a decent look. A sound from the mosque adjacent my house cut short my mental journey. The Imam was calling for the Morning Prayer. The sound prompted me to check my wall clock. I realized time has greedily consumed up my day. But the time on the wall clock gave me two things to remember while l left to take my exam.

First, it reminded me of the activities of yesterday. It reminded me of the remnants of colonialism, religion, regionalism, urbanization, globalization, political hegemony and the influence of technology. The time on the wall clock reminded me of colonialism with its good things and bad things. Colonialism came for our values, traditions, our mineral resources and in their place we can boast of the Bible and the Qur'an.

But the gift of the holy books came at a great cost: the depletion of our cultural heritage. I cry over the loss of our identity through the adaptation of foreign names at the expense our own; because, thanks to indoctrination, we have been made to believe that our names have no place in heaven. My worried is the double coincidence of the names they gave us.

When I first entered the university in 2007, this reality of double coincidence of names dawned on me. At the matriculation ceremony, the registrar mentioned close to 200 people bearing the name ABDUL ALHASSAN. In the same vein, close to 100 people bear the name ALHASSAN YAKUBU or YAKUBU ALHASSAN. It tells you we are a lost people. What’s the guarantee that such students bearing same names, had not, in the course of their study had their scripts exchanged for one another as there are no photos in their scripts. Don’t tell mean identification number is the trick.

Lately, I have found several people bearing the name Isaac Yeboah or Yeboah Isaac. This is quite confusing especially when such people do not add a third name to their names.

Come to think of it, in one village we have several people bearing the name NYAABA MARTIN and we have another set of people with the name AKURUGU STEPHEN.

These great coincidences of names get me very worried. Can we go back to take our identity? Our names remain the torchbearers of our identity. Our names tell us where we come from. It is easy to tell where Adumbire comes from and not too easy to locate the village where Anwar Sadat comes from. It is easy to tell where Agyarko or Adjei comes from but not too easy to tell where Mumuni Alhassan or Nurudeen Alhassan comes from. And if you get confused with your own name, what else can you get it right? So let us give to our children African and Ghanaian names and let them have their identity. And that's what I believe in and well cherished.

The second thing the clock reminded me, is the future of the institutions and social structures that govern the conduct and regulate the activities of the citizenry. I’m worried about the governance system colonialism gave us. I’m worried about the judiciary, parliament, public service, corporate organizations and the traditional chieftaincy institutions. I’m worried about the human beings who manage these institutions. And I’m worried about the man who decides the price of petrol and water and electricity and housing. I’m equally worried about the baker and the size of her bread that has become small. The human resource manager. And I’m worried about the landlord.

I found myself thinking about the quality of the anonymous human beings behind the institutions that decide the freedom, peace, stability, social order, justice and happiness and welfare of everyone in my society. Covid-19 pandemic. I am worried. I am worried about our fragile health system and how we can fight this pandemic. The nurse. The doctor. I’m worried about PPE’s.

I get worried about the impending bomb waiting to befall us as a people and our children in the future. Galamsey, Chinese, illegal miners, unemployment, rising cost of living, evil men in authority are many of the things that preoccupied my thinking as the time of the clock ticked by.

How did we get here? I asked. I have no idea. But to get out of this, we may have to nationalize our thinking through the goodwill of things that reinforce national consciousness to restore harmony in our society. Our traditional values and our chieftaincy institution (not the polluted one) may help us out of these times of conflicts, strife, error and other manifestations of the ill sides of human existence. But the chieftaincy institution itself is confused. It is caught up in a suicidal web of political clienteleism. It has been brushed and bruised by the dirty brass of politics. And it is now gone to slumber. But there is hope!

To restore hope and faith in parliament and the judiciary, our parliamentarians and other political leaders should be called by their very African traditional names and make them swear by the gods of our land before assuming office. The judge must swear by the god of “Nogokpo”, the god of “Ampomaa” and the god of “Afobinini”.

But why being afraid if two people bearing the same name? My fear of the coincidence of names is provoked by the current rate of unemployment in the country. If your child name coincides with the politician child’s name and both are competing for same job and education, I don't know what would happen. But you are the best judge.

I can’t say more. But to add that, I am the only David Adumbire Atombire on the planet earth now. If you find David Adumbire (coinciding with mine) ignore it. He is fake. But if such name exist, add Atombire to my name!

Writer: David Adumbire

Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, P.O. Box LG 96, Legon, Ghana

Email: [email protected]