Greener Journal of Arts and Humanities

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Lantern et al

Greener Journal of  Art and Humanities Vol. 4 (1), pp. 007-014, January 2014

 ISSN: 2276-7819 

Research Paper

Manuscript Number: 010314009


Ndebele Children’s Names as Reservoirsof History and Culture


Beatrice Lantern*, Lindiwe Ndlovu, Faith Sibanda


1,2,3Lecturer, Department of African Languages and Literature, Great Zimbabwe University.


This article discusses the notion of naming as a practice which saves as an archive of culture and history. Naming is a common phenomenon across cultures in the world. This informative onomastic practice plays a crucial role in society because we get to know better what is around us through it. The interesting feature of naming is that it is not usually done from a layman’s point of view but it is endowed with wisdom which is associated with people’s culture, thereby documenting peoples’ history, which is a major aspect of culture. People do not normally name for the sake of naming but they artfully analyse the world around them and therefore intelligently deduce the name which will embrace their circumstances. Therefore, this paper focuses on the intelligence associated with names given to children during and after the liberation war struggle in Zimbabwe and the occurrence of natural hazards as well as post independence experiences. Names in general, are reflective in nature, they picture the reality of a certain incident, portraying how people reacted and perceived it from various angles. One is able to trace back a peoples’ history, their way of living and the challenges they encounter in their lives by just analysing peoples’ names as reflective of their existential and circumstantial realities of that particular area. The paper concludes by indicating that the art of naming plays a key role in society because through naming we get the “uncensored” voice of people, that is, their history by themselves.

Keywords: Ndebele, children, names, reservoirs, history, culture.

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