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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Cultural Meaning of Names among Basotho of South Africa: A Historical and Linguistic Analysis
Author:Guma, Mthobeli
Periodical:Nordic Journal of African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
personal names
Sotho language
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:http://www.njas.helsinki.fi/pdf-files/vol10num3/guma.pdf
Abstract:This paper examines how names and the naming process in Sotho society (Southern Africa) serve as a sociocultural elucidation of the concepts of 'self', 'person' and 'individual'. Particular attention is paid to the cultural meaning of personal names, teknonyms and teknonymous names and the application of names in male and female initiation rituals. The paper contends that 'names' are more than a 'word' by which a person, animal, place or thing is known, and do not fundamentally connote designation, reputation or the identification, separation of one individual from another per se, as Western thought would assume. In addition to this, 'names' are also a sociocultural interpretation of historical events and they embody individual life experiences, social norms and values, status roles and authority, as well as personality and individual attributes. Bibliogr., sum.