African Diaspora: Seven Names in a Lifetime
written by Nana Kwabena Osei-Boadi (kongo wattu)
Akan culture says a human being lives to be called seven names in a lifetime.
1. Asukɔnoma - the water fetching bird. Feeds in fluids. Breastmilk, water, porridge, etc.
2. Abɔfra - just a part of creation and at peace and in harmony with nature. Crawling in all fours, eating earth does no harm. They tug on the dog's tail and the dog enjoys it.
3. Akoadaa - Always the slave. The being is up and standing and has learnt to walk and run. Enjoys running errands with the new abilities.
4. Aberaanteɛ (male) - the one who disobeys rules. Puberty and adolescence. Wɔ hyɛ mmra anaa wɔ bra no a ɔnnte.
Ababaawa (female) - the fashionable one. W'aba so. Fantse Akans refer to this stage as Akataasiewa. The one who should be covered and hid. At this stage the gender of the being is taken into consideration for the first time..
5. Opaanii - the worker. Odi paa.
6. Abansiriwa - the senior citizen who protects the walls from collapsing. The experienced one who is in a position to give help with wisdom or saved finances after a long working life.
7. Aberɛwa (female) - the tired one. Nea wabrɛ.
Akɔkora ( male) - the one who is indoors and out of sight. Wakɔ kora.
After having been called these seven names the person after death has a black stool placed in the family prayer room or shrine (nkondwadan mu). When prayers are said and ancestors are listed and called upon to carry the prayers into the spirit world and the creator, their names (akradin) are mentioned.
Food for Thought.
~ Nana Kwabena Osei-Boadi; Kongo Wattu
African culture is rich in traditions. Many of us in the African diaspora have retained and/or reclaimed many of our traditional customs.
Sankofa - "Go back and get it"; reconnect with the past and learn from it