CHANGE OF NAME
“Can you introduce yourself, please”? “I am Fagbenro Ogunyakin”. “What?! I thought you called yourself a believer!” Conversations like this has been part of our society. In this part of the world, people bear ancestral names as their last name. Although it is informally called “father’s name”, it is not literally so. Our ancestors were not opprotuned to have been exposed to the truth of the gospel- they worshipped the gods they understood, had communion with them and lived based on their principles. As a result, they bore names that reflected their belief. Presently, things have greatly changed. Most people no longer associate with their ancestral deities. However, the family name which they bear, reflects them. The question is, “should those names be changed?”
It has been observed that some people revamp their names thereby modifying the meanings. For example, “Fatoyin”, which means, “Ifa(a Yorubaland diety) deserves praise” is changed to “Oluwatoyin” meaning, “Almighty God deserves praises”. This is because it is believed that the name one bears has a stronghold on his or her fate and future. On the other hand, others who have such names as first or last names, go ahead to answer them even when they personally have no connection to the deities. They believe that names have more effects spiritually than it does physically. So, they would rather disassociate themselves with those deities and ancestral covenants than change their names which they were christened. Which approach is advisable and more efficient?
As Africans, we would always be attached to a belief system. Those belief systems will continue to affect our ideologies, productivity and the achievements we make out of life. Either it comes in form of the names we bear or the way we should be addressed, it is what defines us. The success of an average African man begins from his brain and ends up as his mindset. Firstly, he thinks of it then believes in it and forms his life around it. Nothing else will work for him unless it gets its way into his head for a rethink. So, be it an obvious change or a spiritual one, ensure that everything that defines you, conforms with your ideology.
By Oluwatosin Ayodeji