Jabulani Means Rejoice is the most wonderful dictionary of South African names! Written by Phumzile Kalumba, the book looks at the history of African names, offering a meaning for each name, as well as the origin of the name. But it goes beyond being merely a dictionary, providing a cultural context and examining the history surrounding things such as naming rituals.
In a recent interview with Radio 702, Phumzile talked about how a name which may be perceived to be ugly, is actually intended as a form of protection for the child – you are hiding your beautiful baby in an unattractive wrapping in order to deceive the spirits. Phumzile also strongly believes that people should use their given African names, rather than the European names that so many people go by, as the African name carries a meaning. In the interview Phumzile talked about how Mandela is better known by his western name of Nelson, but that his African name, Rolihlahla, is so much more interesting and may have served as warning to the apartheid government had they paid attention! The name Rolihlahla is an isiXhosa word that colloquially means ‘troublemaker’!
Jabulani Means Rejoice, A Dictionary of South African Names is available to buy via www.modjajibooks.co.za