Vol. 47 No. 2 (1999)
Research Article

Personal Names as Social Protest: The Status of African Political Names

Published 1999-06-01



An earlier study noted a sharp rise in the incidence of “political names” given to South African children, especially boys, born 1990-1992, compared with those born earlier and suggested that this increase reflected a history-keeping function of personal names. Other interpretations are offered and it is suggested that such names may be more profitably classed with names offering social commentary, especially social friction. These names are then seen as oblique messages sent by muted name-givers and their decreased frequency around and following majority rule follows from the achievement of social voice by the African community.


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