CHINANUEKPERE

Yesterday Obianuju asked where I got Chynanu from and it hit me that the inspiration behind my WordPress and even blogger (I really should do a wordpress.com vs blogger.com post seeing that I use both) monikers are not as clear to everyone as they are to me.

 

Chynanu comes from the name Chinanuekpere which is my middle name/baptismal name, surprised? Aren’t baptismal names supposed to be names of saints or at least foreign names? In the Anglican doctrine, your baptismal name has to be a Christian name but it is not limited to saint’s names or foreign names. If an indigenous name fits, you can use it and it doesn’t have to be a “chi name”, my father’s middle name is Ngozi without Chi or Chukwu prefix or suffix. I also do not have any foreign (English name) neither do any of my brothers or my parents for that matter.

 

Ironically, neither of my grandfathers had Igbo names, all their names were foreign. I guess that’s why they didn’t saddle their children with foreign names, they probably wanted to make up for that (I’d have to ask my parents because it just occurred to me that I don’t even know why neither of them have foreign names). My parents had told us earlier that it didn’t occur to them to give us foreign names because they wanted names that would be a reflection of the circumstances of our births and their wish for each child and they didn’t feel foreign names would do those desires any justice.CHINANUEKPERE

 

I am Chinanuekpere (there’s a longer version but I don’t want to twist your tongues) because my parents were praying for a child for a while before God gave them the fabulous gift that became me. Chinanuekpere means God hears prayers, it is synonymous to Chinazaekpere which means God answers prayers- see same thing! My brothers have fabulous middle names too, one of them is Chikezirim (one of my favourite names in this world) it means God created me well/properly and the other (the youngest and my baby) is Chibuzo which means God is the way (I named him Chibuzo, see the story behind it HERE).

 

When I was nine or ten, I desperately wanted an “English name”. I went to my paternal grandfather (my grandparents lived in Lagos at the time) and asked him to give me a name because my parents weren’t interested in giving me one, my dad gave me this African theory that I neither understood or wanted to hear at the time. After deliberating with my grandfather, we decided on Crystal after rejecting some truly dreadful names including Gretel (he said he liked the name) and Hannah. I was happy that I’d finally gotten a foreign name and I wouldn’t be termed a bush girl.

I have gone 180° on the matter and no longer refer to myself as Crystal, I’d tell you with no small amount of pride that I do not have a foreign name and that’s that. I don’t know if I’d give my children foreign names, I don’t think I will though because there are so many Igbo names that flit through my mind when I think about my future children and if Le Boo is not Igbo… we’d have to give them beautiful names from his culture

 

Tomorrow Obianuju would be my guest here and her piece is funny, wise and beautiful, biko don’t forget to read and drop a comment.

 

P.S My first name is Adaeze which is really short for Adaezenwa, it means The first daughter of Ezenwa (my father’s name is Ezenwa) and Ezenwa means king among children if the bearer is a child and if the bearer is an adult it means He who became king as a child. Adaeze means the first daughter of a king and it is a full name on its own. Adaezenwa is my name on blogger and it is the only name my maternal grandmother calls me.

 

PPS: My dad just told me that he and his wife don’t have foreign names because they are Africans and have never seen a white man bearing an African name… Funny answer innit?

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22 Comments

  1. Your writings truly endear me to Igbo names. Like you, I have no foreign name even though my dad has one. I desired one for so long but when I came into full enlightenment of what my name means I ditched plain ‘Lola’ for the full ‘Oyinlola’.

    Oyin means honey between, literally.

    Reply

  2. I love your dads response to why he doesn’t have an foreign name. Its also one of the reasons I do not plan to give my children foreign names.

    I have a foreign name , which is actually my official name…I have no particular feelings for it. But my middle name which is vernacular (okrikan) has my heart. Love it to bits… Tamie is a short form of it (Tamunomiebaka – meaning Thank you God) . What’s the Igbo version for my name ..Kelechi?

    Q: pls what app do you use to create your banners , like the one in this post ?

    Reply

    1. His reply had me laughing and shaking my head, he’s serious about his answer though.
      Kelechi also means Thank God, so you have no reason not to thank God without ceasing, even your names are beautiful reminders to do so.
      I used Canva to create the banner, their templates are really easy to use.

      Reply

  3. Hey Adaeze Chinanuekpere! I love your name jhorr! Kai. I think your dad should meet ny dad. Lol. They are so into their Igbo culture altogether.

    Your dad is so on point. Let Africans be Africans.

    I love Igbo names. In fact, I generally love local names. When I introduce myself as “Amaka” or “Nwamaka” (which means beautiful/child is beautiful) , there is a pride innit. I love my name so much that I can’t funkify it or shorten it. You can never hear me say “Ammy”. Biko, what’s that???

    P.S. By the way, I’m Ada too… Adadaddy. 🙂

    Reply

  4. Ha! How quite similar are we? My dad gave me the name Adaeze after him as well. His name is Nwabueze but everyone calls him Ezenwa as that’s his title name! Wow! It was like I was reciting my name-story up there.

    I like the name Chynanu, it’s rare and very significant, it sounds like it comes from the soul. And the name Chikezirim is same as Chukwuekezika, a name I love so much and gave to Clara’s brother in my teen series even though I shortened it for Zika.
    I like the name Crystal…very nice too.

    I have an English name oo…but naaaa…I don’t like it so, Adaeze sticks and to many who can’t pronounce it, yep, I have many not too pleasant pronunciations like ‘Adaisy, Adaizeh, Adizeh’ I prefer to keep it short as ‘Ada’ is much more preferable so, you’ll see my friends refer to me as Ada more often as many of them don’t know my full name version.
    Lovely post as always dear.

    Reply

    1. I like name stories! I like how they show just how important our names are!
      Chukwuekezika is beautiful! I guess it’s the Anambra version of Chikezirim.
      Adaeze can be a difficult name to pronounce, I really wonder why. When I was in secondary in Niger state, I got Adieze in addition to the other horrible pronunciations. Ironically I hate being called Ada, none of my close friends/family calls me that especially outside cos I won’t answer. As a child there were many instances when someone called Ada, I would answer answer and it would turn out that I wasn’t the Ada in question. Today you can call me anything, murder my name if you like but don’t call me Ada unless you’re just a temporary fixture in my life

      Reply

      1. Lols.
        In school I remember you don’t answer to ada.. Twas termed as rude. See this rude junior girl.
        You made waves in secondary school I don’t understand why u left.
        I love the name stories my babies names are chinazaekpere (God answers prayers ). And chimsimunodum(God says I should stay). And not igbo but these names cut deep to my soul. I hope I got the spellings right.
        I don’t have native names none of my siblings too but am not giving that chance for my children

  5. Just a light nap and iyaff missed so much!

    Finally!!! I had always thought about your blog moniker but the curious part of me won’t like to stirrthe milk shake. Wow! Such a beautiful name you had and very homecoming one at that too. Igbo names are just somehow tongue twisting sometimes to me that’s why i’do ask for the shorter version 😀😀. I don’t want to be tag “the bro that murder names”.

    Nice article as always

    Reply

  6. Hi Ada,

    Chianuekpere is so beautiful. I love how our Nigerian native names have a nice melodious ring and such rich meanings.

    “Chikezirim” oozes undeniable confidence! 😀

    I have an English baptismal name, sometimes, people try to use it when they assume that I’d prefer it but I always correct them promptly. I love my igbo name, its meaning has proven true repeatedly in my life. Indeed, “God guides me”.

    Your dad has a valid point. Lol

    Reply

  7. Ada, ur Dad has a strong point joorrr. Unfortunately, i’m one of those that have a foreign baptismal name and i’ve always hated that name. It doesn’t help that i also hated my Igbo name when i was younger as it was soo common….everyone had a Chidinma in thier house; it wasn’t funny.

    I remember learning in junior secondary that my friend’s baptismal name was Isioma and she’s catholic, i just had to ask her how her parents managed that and she told me her father refused to have any of his children baptised with foreign names not minding that they were names of saints. Her dad asked the priest ‘If all our children bear saints name, when they become saints how would we identify ours? Or you don’t believe saints can come from Africa?”
    I was soo jealous

    Reply

  8. Now you are making me really appreciate the beauty behind African names and I love your dad’s reason as well…

    Foreign name just makes me feel foreign innit….hehehehe…you know!

    Reply

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