What shall we name this child?

On January 24th 2015 the Lantern Meet Of Poets will be holding a show on identity titled “What shall we name this child?” As we look forward to the show, the question is, what do our names mean?

I took some time to share. Let me know what your name means as well and let’s meet at the National Theatre on 24th January 2015.


My first name is Joel (יואל) . Jo’El. It’s a Hebrew name that means YHWH is Elohim or The LORD is GOD. (Jews do not tend to write the names of the Maker in full thus what we would call abbreviation of JEHOVAH).

If it were in Luganda it might be “KatondaYeMukama”. Also the name Joel is the name Elijah reversed and means Yah Is El, or Yahweh Is Elohim, or The Lord Is God.

My surname is Ntwatwa. I have asked what this name means and none of my people are sure. It might be a fruit or an animal. However, my Dad attributes this name to a favourite famed uncle of his also called Ntwatwa who used to work in the Kabaka’s courts. If you ask at Bulange, you will know I do not lie.

When we are young, we are at our meanest I think, so my name was usually verbalised often. NTWATWA. Gunshots! Soon it became one with the times I was born in, times of war.

My middle name is Benjamin. In the Hebrew it stands for fortunate son or son of the right hand, or son of strength. My mother always read to me his story before I got baptised in the Anglican church back in the day. I was 9 years old so I was aware . Anyhow, its like she was telling me I was a favourite or favoured son like Benjamin. No wonder I grew wings at home .

Then there’s Nevender. An unofficial name. The name comes from a nickname at school “networks” and the purple flower, lavender. It’s a cross between nature and computers. A poetic geek. Romantic nerd. Whatever you call it.

Funny thing here, I know more about my Hebrew names than the one that belongs to this land. What does that say about our keeping of records for future generation? Write we must. Record we must.

So, tell me, what does your name mean?



2 thoughts on “What shall we name this child?

  1. My name is Kawalya Davis Shawn Mponye Lukaaba.
    Haha, the things you wouldn't know otherwise. Davis literally means Son of David(Hebrew) means cherished, whence Davis means Son of the Cherished. Shawn doubles as a nickname and Nom de plume(attimes).

    Kawalya means I am of the 'nsenene' clan and like grasshoppers, it literally means eat alot, Yes I do. That's how I was given the name "Mponye" born on a cold day of the hot month, there was little or no food. Here I was, a human grasshopper munching anything of everything and so I survived which "Mponye" (I have survived means)

    The name 'Lukaaba' is one that fascinates me alot, given to me by a visitor, my great great grand mother who I never got to meet or see. 'Lukaaba' in Luganda means one who cries, I think I cried alot and rumour has it that I was even taken to hospital.
    I officially use Davis Kawalya.

  2. Haha... interestingly, there are many people I know with many names who eventually stick with two they like. But good to know a bit about your heritage and history!


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