United African Organization

Please, learn my name

I am Misturat Ganiyu. Disregard my age, occupation, gender, race, and other details that define a person. Concentrate, instead, on the beginning sentence in this blog. This is where people trip and stumble. At a young age, I realize the difficulty of my name. During that time, I would recite it to other elementary school kids and confusion followed. My name is pronounced as incorrectly as a first grader who utters a challenging word for the first time. A child may split the word into syllables or skip the word altogether, but it will return. The same concept applies to strangers meeting other strangers at a commonplace. Names are introduced and they part ways, but encounters happen.

Repeating a name accurately exemplifies kindness. If you say it wrong and apologize for it, that is alright as long as you try again. Practice helps. Don’t ask for a shortcut such as the person’s nickname. Sometimes, one is absent. 

Birth names like Adebowale and Sanaa reveal to its listeners a hint of African culture. However, frequent clarifications discourage people from introducing themselves during social events. As a result, seemingly difficult names are forgettable in a sea of get-togethers. Thus, the faces intertwined with these names are forgotten too.

Misturat Ganiyu is the center of my identity. It is an extension of self. Once my name is perverted by someone, it is no longer me. The core of my identity in his or her mind is awry. I am lost. Since the name is mine, I must embrace its intricacy and politely correct anyone’s mispronunciation of it. After all, this noun is the essence of me.

Many phobias thrive. Let reciting a name be unworthy of such growth. Be less intimidated by a complex name introduced to you or written for you to say.

For those who have subtracted minutes from their time to learn my name.

Thank you.

By: Misturat Ganiyu


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