The process of naming children

Until recently, I was confused by the names here. The Christian names didn’t surprise me (David, Ruth, Isaac), but the Western names really did (Brian, Lillian, Ann). I got over that pretty quickly. Then I found out that no one here really uses their given name. They call people by what I thought was their last name. But then when I’d ask people for their last name, to figure out what to call them, they would give me the run-around. It was all so confusing.

Boniface explained it to me on our road trip to Nyeri the other day. Boniface’s father was a very hospitable man. He would hold large dinners for people on big occasions, and would just give food away. So he was called “Kimathi,” which means something like generous. Boniface’s son, whose name is actually Victor, now goes by Kimathi. This is not a last name, but rather a name passed down from Victor’s grandfather.

As I understand it, Victor’s name is “Victor Kimathi.” I don’t think he will carry a last name other than Kimathi. I think that’s how it goes.

This entry was posted in 2nd Kenya trip (Jun-Aug 2011), Boniface. Bookmark the permalink.

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