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.