Vol. 56 No. 1 (2008)
Research Article

Xhosa First Names: A Dual Identity in Harmony or in Conflict?

Published 2008-03-01



Xhosa speakers in South Africa often carry a true Xhosa ('ethnic') name as well as an English one. This came about as a result of colonization and the efforts of the missionaries who often bestowed a 'church' or 'school' name upon children. This has become a convention. With the advent of full democracy, one expects that name carriers might develop different perspectives on this convention. It is argued that Xhosa society (and African society broadly speaking) is divided on this issue: although there are indications that the ethnic name is gaining ground over the English one, many name carriers are also quite content with their English names.


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