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My Name Part 1: From Bashanganyi to Bashi

My Name matters.
My name is Bashanganyi.
Over the years I have been given nick-names. Beautiful terms of endearment meant to call me affectionately; but also meant to title me, and define me.
The most obvious for brevity’s sake, is Bash, Bash is the shortened version of “Bashanganyi” to make it easy enough to pronounce for everyone. Any shorter then it would be “B”.  Like when you can’t say Xolani, and you say X, or say Q instead of Qhamani. Bashanganyi, B. Many people call me B to this day.
It really started in primary school. That’s when I vividly remember hearing Bashi for the first time. I was a baby entering the world of systemised education, the begin of indoctrination into society. I don’t know if my parents introduced me to my pre-school teacher as Bashi; or perhaps she suggested it, or there was compromise. I was not involved in the negotiations, but that was my new name. No more Bashanganyi; hello Bashi.
I remember the feelings I felt then as I was getting used to the name, confusion and wonder, along with feeling restrained and constrained. The freedom I had to “Be”, was taken away. I relented, and accepted. What options did I have?
The teacher was a female Rhodesian (of Rhodes) teacher, so I suppose my name was a bit too much and too long for her to pronounce. 11 characters! If she had diffculty, what more the rest of the class? I mean, I was one of four black kids in a predominantly caucasian class.
Compromise was the name of the game.
Compromise my name.
SMH…

Clifton School Francistown Pre-School 1992

Author Bashanganyi

On a unique journey. About to complete the 1st 30 years of my life. Spent the first 10 with family, the next 10 with friends in various schools, and thereafter the next 10 in church. Whats in store for me?

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Join the discussion One Comment

  • Francois says:

    I had a similar experience with a lady at WW. She had a long and intimidating name with a number of x and ch’s. My instinct was to ask her short name or nick name but a voice in me said”ask her to help you sound it” I did and I butchered it but the smile I got for the attempt was priceless. A name means something to the individual to the parents to our Father. Try it, it will be appreciated. Love Francois

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