What defines your identity? Is it your look or style? Your physical appearance? Your personality? Or is it the people you fraternize with? These all describe different aspects of your identity. But none define your identity best than your name. The first thing you know about someone when you meet them for the first time is their name. and the pride in which they pronounce their name says a lot about them.
Throughout my life I have struggled establishing and understanding my identity. I found it impossible introducing myself and saying my name with pride and confidence, fearing the laughter and teasing that usually followed. I mean, what self-respecting guy would be proud of a name like Yolanda? It’s the furthest thing from strong and masculine. If there was a Name Hall of Shame, my name would rank among the likes of “Gertrude”, “Encyclopedia”, and “Zinjaziyamkhonkotha” as names no kid wants.
High school was particularly tough as I needed an extra tough exterior which came in the form of classroom humour (of the worst taste I might add) and an alter ego called King Yobho. Though I never admitted such, I was ashamed of my name. This caused me to deviate from who I truly was as my humour allowed me to experience popularity for the first time. I began hanging with the wrong crowd. Football and my writing (which is my favourite thing in the whole world) took the backseat. I then realized I did not know who I was or becoming, my identity was becoming non-existent. I had lost my name. Identity is made up of many fragile factors, and should you lose one factor, you lose your entire identity. Your name is the most important factor of all in your identity. Without a name you have no identity, and a person with no identity simply does not exist.
I didn’t go to the best of high schools. I went to typical kasi high school. So teachers that really cared were very rare. I needed a wake up call coz my marks were fluctuating rapidly. No teacher cared enough to give me one. After failing my matric the first time, I was forced to give myself one by doing some serious introspection – learn of who I am, what I am and where I come from.
I am a proud descendant of the Amayirha clan! NdinguMzondi, uSampu, uZiyeka, Thambo le nyoka elihlaba abalizondayo! Those are my clan names; the names of my ancestors. Their pride in who they are, makes me lift my chin high as I recite my clan names. I’ll one day also be an ancestor (hopefully in a million years from now lol), now if I’m not proud of my name, how will my great grandchildren be proud of who they are.
I’ve learned to love my name – to adore my name, for it was given to me with love and hope of greatness that they raised me to achieve. I appreciate the name you gave me Mzondi (my dad) nawe Mampondo (my mom.)
It doesn’t matter what your name is or what it means, just the confidence and pride you have in your name, your identity will forever be intact. I’m Yolanda Klaas, don’t get it twisted.
‘Till Next Time Peeps, STAY GOODEST!