Celebrate the meaning of your African name with Jabulani dictionary

Jabulani Means Rejoice is the name of a dictionary comprising hundreds of African names in local South African languages, meticulously assembled and expounded upon for the curious reader.

The names are listed in alphabetical order, with gender indications, as well as information regarding their ethnographic origins and meanings.

The author, Phumzile Simelane Kalumba says this is the first dictionary of its kind with South African names.

Kalumba says these days most people use their given European names instead if their African names.

This is the first dictionary of its kind; where you have a dictionary of South African names. That in itself speaks volumes, because how come we don't have anything like that on the shelves.

Phumzile Simelane Kalumba, Author

We know most of the people we know by their given European names rather than their names that were given when they were born and had a meaning to their name-givers.

Phumzile Simelane Kalumba, Author

Names tell us so much about a culture and what is going on in that culture, she explains.

You have males figures being the name-givers; being the head of the homestead and you have women who actually do not have a voice. For some, naming their children was a way of expressing what they could not say in their marital life.

Phumzile Simelane Kalumba, Author

Kalumba says names that people think are 'ugly' were used to protect the child from bad spirits.

Because of the belief that if a child is born and given an 'ugly' name is some kind of protection. Because they would believe the spirits would hear and they would come for the child.

Phumzile Simelane Kalumba, Author

The 'ugly' name is actually a protective name. You are covering your beautiful thing with a such not so beautiful wrap.

Phumzile Simelane Kalumba, Author

Listen to some meanings of the names from Simelane Kalumba's home:


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