It is always good to read at the beginning of the year the list that Register House publishes of the most common children’s names in use in Scotland for the previous year. I thought, as a follow up to the original article on Lozi nomenclature from last year - (What's in a Name), it might be useful and interesting to list some of the more common Lozi names to be found in the Mwandi area with their meanings. As a class teacher marking the daily register I have come to recognise Mwandi family names.
Lozi names, the Siluyana ones, fall into two main categories, nouns and verbal constructions. Notulu and Amwalana, from the previous article, are two good examples. Most noun-type names consist of a prefix and a stem. If we split up the name “Mu-bita”. Mu (means a person) and ‘bita’ means to pass or wrestle, hence the meaning the passer-by or the wrestler, think of Jacob/Israel..
So all Lozi names have a meaning. Mukelabai (one born at a bad time), Muyunda( the peeper) and Sitali (one who came on a bad day) are good Mwandi examples.
Below is a list of some other more common names in Mwandi with their meanings.
Akabana (one who doesn’t rise ie. bedridden)
Akalemwa (one who can’t be seized)
Akeende (one who won’t go)
Alisinda (the reliable one)
Kufekisa (to resemble)
Liboma (the smasher)
Lisulo(royal hunting party)
Lutangu (a tale)
Mubiana (one who misses someone or something)
Mundia (one who deserts me)
Munjita (one who calls me)
Mukatimui (bad woman)
Mutafela (one who is finished)
Musowe (throw away)
Monde (born in the 1st quarter of the moon)
Naluca (f) (the wee one)
Nalukui (f) Ilukui (m) (fierce one)
Namakau (many hoes)
Namatama (big cheeks)
Namukolo (born in a canoe)
Nawa (good company)
Mutondo (tree, medicine)
Sanana(pertaining to children)
Sianga (euphemism for crocodile)
Silishebo (one born during famine)
Simasiku (m) ,Namasiku & Nosiku (f) born at night
It is difficult to categorise Lozi names definitively but they can be arranged broadly and somewhat thematically. We can see many are concerned with the transience of life, its sufferings and the surrounding circumstances at the time of birth.
As all writers tend to say, by way of a cop out, this is not a comprehensive list, but is merely indicative and somewhat subjective, I know that I am bound to have caused local offence by some grave omissions but thankfully on this occasion the blog readership in Mwandi is mercifully small in number!