At home, Zifudlana (meaning little streams in siNdebele) Ndlovu, the man who helped herd our cattle, and taught me most of what I know about the bush, had his first born daughter named Surrender! There are numerous other examples. One of my abiding childhood memories is of a cousin (Given Maphosa) , chasing us around the cattle kraal while we taunted him with a newly learnt Salvation Army Sunday school chorus “ My sins are for-given…. Are yourrrrrrs? Aaaare yourrrrrs?”
For some odd reason the country’s footballing world seems to attract more than its fair share of interestingly named players. I remember Doubt Sithole’s blistering right wing runs (for Bulawayo’s Highlanders FC, in the late 70s). The National team in the early 80s boasted Shakeman Tauro, Friday Phiri, Sunday Marimo. All in one team! And these were not nicknames. We are not talking about the likes of Sugar Muguyo here. The latter, whose real name was Ebson, together with Onias Musana were well known Zimbabwean expatriates in the South African soccer scene of the late 70s. The number of interesting names in one team has never been bettered although we have had people like Boy Ndlovu, Mercedes “Rambo” Sibanda in the mid to late 80s.
In the last few years we have also seen the likes of Pressmore Moyo (former under 17 player) Master Masuku (AmaZulu) and Pope Moyo (who kept goals for Highlanders) to name a few. A recent Zimbabwean national team headed for the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt with a squad that included Gift Mudzadzi, Energy Murambadoro, Method Mwanjali, and Honour Gombani.
After Kirsty Coventry sensationally bagged Zimbabwe’s 3 swimming gold medals in the 2004 Olympics (and was, rather disingenuously, feted by Robert Mugabe) a hilarious e-mail did the rounds among Zimbabweans all over the world. It listed some of the names, purportedly garnered from Zimbabwean maternity wards, in the weeks after Kirsty’s feats, that parents gave to their newborns. These included Freestyle Madongo, Goldengirl Mazorodze, Threemedals Sibanda, Backstroke Karimanzira and yes, why not, ….Kestricoventry Munyoro
The more refined “sports” are not exempt. Zimbabwe’s entrant in the 2005 M-Net face of Africa Finals has the name Greatmore Chatya. A few years ago, after an earthquake rocked part of Zimbabwe and Mozambique another e-mail doing the rounds referred to nurses from Harare’s Ambuya Nehanda maternity home announcing that names of newborns discharged the next day included: Shakes Dube, Vibration Kunonga, Tremble Magwaya, Tremor Dangare, Tectonic Muzondiwa, Kudengenyeka Charovachii, Richter Sibanda and Earthquake Maposa. The e-mail was probably a joke but it could only have been a Zimbabwean joke!
Babusi Sibanda. Mobile : +27721969188 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Zimbabwean born, South African, freelance writer and columnist .
Has had numerous articles published in a variety of publications in the last 25 years including The Chronicle (Bulawayo), The Sunday News (Bulawayo), Moto, Parade, The Cape Times, Food & Home, Rootz, Femina, African Decisions, Mercedes , Mail & Guardian and others.