Knowing the meaning of names plays a critical role in engaging the origin of such names in the traditional and cultural settings of Africa.
This is according to Malcolm Munyaza, who released a book titled ‘Zambezi Names and Definitions’ earlier this year.
In his first book, Munyaza – a student from the University of Namibia majoring towards a Bachelor of Honours in Education – details the traditional meanings of names in the Zambezi region.
“Many times, we hear different names – both traditional and modern - but we do not know the meaning or history of the name. In knowing where a name originates from, we are able to preserve our history, and also carry it forward for future generations. An example of a cultural name would be Kahimbi, which is mostly given to baby girls in the family,” he explained.
Asked for his take on the difference between tradition and culture, he said it differs in semantic articulation, but their practical goal is one which is to set the echo of African heritage upright, and it begins by acknowledging the meaning of things and names in terms of their historical background.
He said many traditional festivals which were launched by Mafwe and Subia traditional groups from 2016 to 2019 portrayed a significant milestone in how the Zambezi people are jealously guarding their tradition and cultural practices.
He said the Zambezi region was recently ranked as the top tourist attraction in terms of wildlife, but the cultural heritage in the country seems to be tailing behind wildlife.
Munyaza then urged the youth at large to appreciate their tradition and cultural practices, saying it would help in many ways to uplift the region’s economy through tourism attraction.
The 33-year-old is eager to write more books, and is already working on a second one.
“For now, I would prefer to keep the upcoming book under wraps, but I will pronounce it as soon as I feel the book is ready,” expressed Munyaza.