Despite increase in Western education and domination of Islamic traditional culture, the naming systems among Gambian tribes, which derive its source from supernatural beliefs, are alive and well.
Isn’t necessary now for The Gambia to introduce baby-naming rules and regulations to save children from potential embarrassment in the future?
The following are popular Mandinka names that we thought are old-fashioned and should not be bestowed upon any newborn.
Nyimasata: A common name in Kiang, mostly given to second-born daughter.
Sambujang: A male name that is becoming increasingly unpopular.
Danjang: A name given to a baby born to a mother that suffers frequent miscarriage. It literally means ‘stop here’.
Jongfolo: Like Danjang, it is also a name for a baby born to a mother that suffers frequent miscarriage. It means the ‘first slave’.
Keluntang: It is one of the most old-fashioned male names in the country. It means ‘male guest’.
Kemeseng: It means ‘skinny guy’. How can you call your son such a name?
Kuta: How can you name your baby girl ‘new’?
Kekuta: The masculine name for Kuta.
Filijeh: Another name given to a baby born to a mother that suffers frequent miscarriage. The masculine is Fili. The names are translated as ‘lost or leave it there’.
Dobally: Like Filijeh, it is also specially for a baby born to a mother that suffers frequent miscarriage. It means ‘one that does do work’.
As you could see most of the old-fashioned names are given to babies born to mothers that suffer frequent miscarriage. According to history, such names help in healing the situation. In the coming weeks, we will take a look at old-fashioned Wollof names.
Photo courtesy of tessainthegambia.wordpress.com