I have been following the trial Conrad Murray trial, recently convicted for killing pop star Michael Jackson, and I was intrigued at the number of times the word Propofol was mentioned.
The singer is reported to have had an overdose of the anaesthetic drug leading to his death a few years ago.
What came to my mind first was that I will not be shocked in the next few months that some parents in Zimbabwe might name their children Propofol, yes Propofol. While this may seem like a joke, Zimbabweans have an odd way of christening their newly born children.
Strangely, Zimbabweans have a love for the English language and next time you meet someone with a rather odd English name, ask him which country he is from and don’t be surprised he is my country man.
As they say, charity begins at home, so I will begin by giving examples of some rather odd names in my family. My eldest uncle is called Nevermind, Never for short. My grandmother says he was born at a time of distress, as her and my grandfather were constantly fighting and the name was meant to communicate that she didn’t mind and could cope on her own without her husband.
They split up a few years later.
I also have an aunt called Easy, I have no idea who named her or what was going on during the time of her christening, but that’s certainly a name I am not going to give to my child.
Someone recently told me that they grew up with a neighbour whom they simply referred to as “Tom”. It was only years later that they discovered that the person’s full name was actually Symptom. Oh my gosh, what kind of a parent names their child that.
My favourite name though should be that of a newspaper analyst, his name is Psychology. Probably his parents were prophetic and wanted their sons to be a psychologist or something or maybe they were just intrigued by a term they thought was a jawbreaker.
Zimbabweans seem to have a complex that the better English you speak the more educated you are, they are contemptuous of people who cannot speak the Queen’s language fluently. So I think for us it follows that English names mean sophistry and intelligence of both our parents who named us and also for us the children, who carry those strange names like crowns on their heads.
I have one name, an Ndebele one (that is my tribe), but I often get people asking me if I do not have another one. The feeling I get is these people are just not satisfied with just one indigenous name, I need to have an English so I can fit in.
A cursory glance will reveal that most people with such names actually grew up in rural names and a person who attempted to speak or was at least fluent in English was exalted in that area. A one eyed man in the land of the blind, if you like.
So a child with an English name, never mind (that word again) how ludicrous it was, was seen as the child of sophisticated parents. As for urban folk, really am still trying to get a reason why their children would have some of the strangest names on this planet.
One of Zimbabwe’s top athletes is called Young Talkmore Nyongani. Really if I worked at the birth registry I would propose a jail term for any parent who even dared to burden their child with such names.
Zimbabweans also have a way of naming their children after historic or landmark events in their lives, but again they come up with weird names which only Zimbabweans can think of.
During the height of the economic problems, our government blamed all our ills on sanctions imposed by the west. And yes, you guessed it some family named their unfortunate child Sanctions, guess as a reminder of the tough times we went through.
During that same period, fuel was scarce and was available to only a few who could lay their hands on foreign currency and bought fuel coupons in advance. Fuel coupons soon became a substitute currency and soon people were transacting using the coupons.
Needless to say, some family soon named their child Coupon and I bet when he is all grown up, his grandchildren would always be willing listeners as to how their grandfather got such a name.
There are several more strange names and I could never attempt to exhaust the list, but in the last few weeks I have met a man named Amend, I have spoken to another called Agree and like I said, I will not be surprised to hear of Propofol in the next few months.