It is a brand new day and we are going to look at some special names in our Waala setting. What comes to your mind when you hear names like Dabuo, Yepagaa, Yuoni, Tampuori, Voga, etc? I shall be taking you through the reasons behind those special names. They have advantages and disadvantages too.

Let’s begin with Dabuo. Dabuo is a name given to a male child born after the death of his father. A settlement that has extinct is referred to as Dabuo. So, when a child is born after his father’s death, it’s assumed that the child is born into an extinct family. So the name is to remind the child and the community who he is. The female version of Dabuo is Yipagaa. When a new born became an orphan (lost both parents) right after birth , he or she is also given Yipagaa.

Another special name is Yuoni. Youni is given a child born on or after 12 months of pregnancy. A normal pregnancy last, at most, 9 months. This name also reminds the community the situation the child was born. Both male and female can be given that name.

Tampuori is yet another name to a “reincarnated male child”. Each time a mother gives birth and the baby dies, the one that survives after the many birth and death is given the name Tampuori. Before and after the child is born, some rituals are performed to ensure this “reincarnated” child does not return (die). Tampuori is where refuse are dumped and and the child is given that name to shame and prevent him from returning (dying again). The female version is called Maanii or Mwankyie. Maanii(okro) is given to symbolize the slippery nature of the child. Mwankyie(broken calabash) to mean the child (calabash) has broken (died) many times. In other communities within the waala setting Tampuori is given to both males and females.

Voga. Voga is a female name given to child after the mother never ovulated (known) before picking the pregnancy. If the woman never menstruated before, its belived se can’t get pregnant. In the unlikely (or likely) event that she gets pregnant, the child will be called Voga.

Ok, what about Tungbani, Mwengu, Kala, Jebuni ? Well, they are gods names. They are given to children (preferably male) chosen by the gods after birth.

Now, twins and the singleton after the twins have special names among waala. During delivery, the one that comes first is the junior and is called Danaa(male) or Ponaa(female). It is believed he/she was sent by an elder from the womb. The Second (senior) to follow is called Dajiema(male) or Pojiema(female). The singleton after the twins is called Daare(both) or Koge.

In our waala setting, you would also find Dagaba names(male and female) like Dassah and Pogsaa born on rainy day, Dordaa and Pogdaa born on pito brewing day, or Ayuo and Bayuo born on market day. Remember the Waala kingdom which was founded in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century, covers some Dagaba/Lobi communities such as Charia, Tampieni, Piisi,Piihi(Bosoyiri),Dapuoha, Sagu, etc where most of these names are predominantly used. Some of these names have since been assimilated into the larger waala community.

Other situational names are days of the week given to new borns. Tenee(Monday/Atenee), Talaata(Tuesday/Atalaata), Lariba(Thursady/Alariba), Asibi(Saturday/Asibiti) and Lardi(Sunday/Alahadi),and Months such Sunkari(Ramadan).

We shall be exploring our local names in general on a separate write up. Stay tune for part 2. All corrections are welcomed.


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