Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Ever heard a name and you had to turn around to take a glance? It happens a lot. Sometimes the source of the name is sought, or other times the bearer of that name. There are different reasons why this happens. Some names sound very pretty and exotic, while others make you wonder what were you thinking?

The truth is sometimes it's quite difficult to get an adequate name for a child, I mean how are we certain that the child could possibly carry that name? Imagine if a child was named Jesus, wouldn't there be immense responsibility on that child to try to be Christ like? And have some amazing super human qualities? Or what if some one was named Lucifer, would there always be some sort of negative and recoiling effect people would have just seeing that person or mentioning his name?

Sometimes you hear a name and you immediately think wow, what a beautiful name. And other times, it's aww poor child or maybe an outright laugh. (Don't judge me, we have all done it) while reading Ken Saro Wiwa's "A Forest Of Flowers", there is a story about a man who is so disillusioned with the world, he decides to name his child "If God Na Man People No For Chop". The Priest in charge of christening out rightly refuses to name the child this and after a lot of back and forth, they reach a compromise and the child is named "If God Na Man".

Early this year in the UK, a judge restricted a woman from naming her child "Cyanide" saying that the name could cause the child a lot of pain and suffering in future. I guess it could, I mean imagine being named after a dangerous poison which had been used for centuries to kill people. I have a relative called Endurance, which I rank as one of the worst names in the world. That name in my opinion symbolises pain, suffering and basically nothing good. The word endure is only used when people are going through difficult times. I guess the problem of choosing a name is a worldwide problem.

There are also people and traditions that believe a child's name has a huge impact on the way they turn out. They say certain names have a powerful effect while others have a negative and detrimental affect. I know of some people who have changed their names or surname sin adulthood as they say the names had negative effects. It's funny because 2 of such people who I know personally who changed their names were actually very intelligent and seemed to be doing quite well in their endeavours. And I also know of some who have very positive names and well, their traits are a total opposite of their names.

Humans are not the only group who need to properly named. Even pets need adequate names. I remember as kids, we made sure all our dogs were named in a pattern - the last letter of their names had to be a Y. Sometimes people want a girl name for a pet animal, while others prefer a more mean name for a fiercer animal.

Even establishments like businesses, churches and schools also need to be named with a lot of thought. On the church scene, there seems to be a competition to see who can name their church the most ridiculous title. Some leave a bad taste while others are just ridiculous. At least to others.

But is it possible that after some time, a ridiculous name is likely to be accepted?

What are the criteria you would use to name a child? Would you consider changing your name if it had some sort of negative undertone? Do you believe the name of a person had an effect on how they turn out?

Are you a 100% satisfied with your name?

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Monday, 22 August 2016

Hey guys!

This is a new episode of The Zibby Show Podcast.

On this episode of The Zibby Show podcast, it's all about the Olympics!
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Thursday, 11 August 2016

No Longer At Ease is a book written by Chinua Achebe. I first read Arrow of God many years ago, maybe when I was 10 and I remember the frustration I felt that I had a torn copy with missing pages, which did not contain the end. I kept thinking about it for years till I found a complete version but weirdly enough, I didn't remember much about the 2nd time I read it.

I found a lovely website which had an e copy of the book and I could not wait to read it again. I finally read it a few days ago and let's say this time I devoured it word by word.

Obi Okonkwo is a young man, about 25 years old who moved from his village secondary school, straight to university in England thanks to a scholarship fund by his community, Umofia. If Umofia sounds familiar, it is. Okonkwo, the major character from Achebe's earlier novel "Things Fall Apart" hails from Umofia and is in fact Obi's grandfather. Obi's father is Nwoye, Okonkwo's first son whom he had disowned for following the ways of the white man. I love how  Achebe takes us back subtly to "Things Fall Apart", without actually delving into much detail.

Obi is struggling to adapt to a Nigeria he does not recognise, one newly filled with corruption and people of questionable character. Growing up in a very protective bubble from his rather protective and almost overzealous Christian father, Obi finds it hard to integrate into the new corruption he finds engulfing Nigeria. He falls in love with a rather independent and unapologetic Clara, who unfortunately is deemed unsuitable by his family and community, as she is an osu.

Obi finds himself torn between love and duty - to his family, his country and to himself. It is a battle which sadly, seems to consume Obi. Some important issues picked up on are listed below;

1. Obi's father became a Christian & rejected his own father Okonkwo and the ways of their ancestors deeming them as barbaric. He however has not fully let go of the ways of his fathers, as he rejects Clara, showing that he is still a slave to tradition.

2. Obi is under immense pressure. As a young graduate who has studied abroad, he is expected to behave and look a certain way, pay for his siblings fees and basically take care of the family and community. This pressure is still mounted on individuals even 50+ years later, in African societies. Obi is fighting a battle with who he is and who is is expected to be, as everyone has different expectations of him.

3. Poverty is a recurring theme in this book. Obi's parents in the village are struggling to make ends meet, starving and poor. The villagers who offered him the "scholarship" are all poor. In fact, Obi who is living the Nigerian dream- studying in the UK and working for the government as a senior civil servant- is actually quite poor. Evidence of his poverty is shown by his old friend Joseph bringing drinks for the mourners who come to visit Obi as he knows Obi can not afford it.

4. There is the attitude of the colonial Europeans in Africa who seem to love only a certain part of Africa. People like Obi's boss, Mr Green love the uneducated Africans who need, seek and crave their approval. However these same men hate the educated and enlightened African as they are a threat to their pseudo sense of superiority. This has not changed.

I really loved watching Obi's struggles, not because I am mean but because it shows he is human.
I loved how Okonkwo's shadow looms over Obi and his father Isaac (Nwoye) though it doesn't overshadow them, and their characters are explored. Okonkwo is a massive character that I inadvertently kept trying to compare Isaac (Nwoye) and Obi to him.

I kept trying to imagine how Okonkwo would have reacted if he was in certain scenes in this book. I believe Obi's explosive reaction at the meeting when the President quizzes him about his plans to marry an osu bride would definitely have made Okonkwo proud. However the Obi who seems defeated and resigned to fate reminds me of Unoka, Okonkwo's father.


And what exactly was the verdict in Obi's case at the end? We can only guess, as only one person knows the answer to that question and sadly, he can't tell us any more. We can only imagine.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to read your views. Please drop your comments or tweet me @ZibbyJ


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