The first thing to be done when a child is born is to be given a name. Before colonization every clan used to have certain names that are given within that family because they knew reincarnation exists, the child will be named by the name of the person whom is thought to have reincarnated .Reincarnation was known to be happening within the same clan(Lisendvo). While the woman was pregnant the grandmother would have a way of checking who had been reincarnated in unborn child and would confirm once the child was born. The child was then given the name of the one who has reincarnated. Upon birth the family would then introduce the child to the ancestors and give a name that would be immediately registered with the ancestors. A child was given a name by either by the grandmother or the father so that the child has a meaningful name even to the ancestors and has the name that will easily be registered with the ancestors. When a new born baby is introduced to the ancestors was not that the ancestors were not aware of the child but a way of showing respect to the ancestors, and also registering a name for the child which would be an access key to the ancestors.
The parents were not supposed to come with a name to the grandparents for their child because after all the child does not belongs to them but to the grandparents. A name coming from the grandparents was very good because it was an easy access code for the child when he has grown up and is able to speak to the ancestors as that name will be coming from the very same grandparents (please note that speaking with ancestors is not for children, the elders are the ones to speak to the ancestors on behalf of the children) or when someone is invoking ancestors (baphahla) for the child. They use the very same name when asking or invoking the ancestors for the child as that name would be registered already with the ancestors. If not given the correct name from the ancestors some children could end up getting sick, disabled, die or when grown up would continually have misfortunes. Some people are experiencing troubles in their lives just because they have wrong names, which do not resonate with their spirit and soul. Those who are supposed to be Tinyanga and Tangoma during initiation(ekutfwaseni) get additional names for their calling, such names are inherited as per the calling and are used for the purpose of doing the work as they normally identify the roots of their calling.
I know that what I’m writing about will be new to others, especially those who don’t have a strong background in with ancestral way. When approaching ancestors one must use the name that is registered with the ancestors the name know by them. Sometimes it happens that you have two registered names one with the ancestors on the mothers side and the other with the ancestors in the fathers side meaning if you speak to the ancestors on your mother’s side you will use the other name known by them, and same to your father’s side you will use the name known by them. Sometimes you will find that the grandparents in the mother’s side gave you a name same as the grandparents from the father’s side . The problem as I always say is that most people who come to our spirituality approach the spirituality with a Christian mindset, because Christianity is deeply rooted in our people they want to Christianise everything. Not everyone has a right to Speak or invoke ancestors (kukhuluma nemadloti noma kuphahla emadlotini). Those who are not mature and have not been taught to do so are not supposed to invoke (kuphahla) or speak to ancestors. Prayer and invoking the ancestors (Kuphahla) are far different from one another and must not be approached the same way.
Some people think that education or having money gives them the right to Kuphahla, same as those who think that by being Sangoma and Inyanga they now have right for kuphahla which is not true. Anyway my topic today is not kuphahla as such but to write about the importance of a name, when one invokes the ancestors and the importance of having a name known by the ancestors. It is your duty to be sure that your name is known by your ancestors as that name will be a key when invoking the ancestors or when they are invoking them on your behalf. The ancient pattern of naming a child is obviously not followed these days, most of the names are not even known by the ancestors some of our names are not even in line with the clan and are even European names. Once a name is known by the ancestors that name will also eventually register in the spirit of the person. Once a name is registered with the ancestors and also in the spirit of that person it will be easy to connect to the universe with the very same name. When someone is in deep sleep or has fainted that person can be awakened by calling him or her by that particular name. It is the only name that will make his or her spirit to react and wake up from having fainted or the deep sleep.
Those who cast spells are also use the name that is registered to your spirit to do evil against you. When you approach the ancestors, you introduce yourself with the name that is known by the ancestors followed by the name of your father or mother depending which ancestors you are speaking to. Once a name is known or registered to your ancestors that name cannot be easily be changed because it is the name that you use to connect to ancestors. In my case I have a western name some of my conscious friends used to say I must change the name to a African name but as a person who has learned more about ancestors knows that is not possible – I cannot just assume any new name. I got that name from my father and it was the name of my great grandfather the name was registered to the ancestors and my ancestors knows me by that name for that reason I cannot change that name. Changing a name that is registered and known by ancestors is like changing your name that is in your id at home affairs that new name is not known and registered. I was given a right at home to invoke ancestors(KUPHAHLA) and everything was done by that name (Ben) It is the name that I use when invoking ancestors because they know me by that name. I also don’t like European names but in this case I have to live with the name as it is the key to my ancestors and in my culture I cannot name myself that is an abomination.
My father used to call me grandfather because of that name and my grandmother sometimes call me father because of that name which gives me certain status in the family, without that name I will be no one in the family. I remember that a few years ago I went to do some rituals at the grave of my great-grandmother affirming the name (Ben) because Ben was her husband. My other name Themba I got from my mother when she was dedicating me in church and that name is not registered with the ancestors and my spirit. But when I speak to the ancestors on my mother’s side I use another name which I got from my grandfather which is ‘Mafavuke Njenge Dangamane’. I will never have a right to invoke the ancestors (kuphahla) from my mother’s side, I only speak to the ancestors using the name from my grandfather. Understanding the issue of names is very important because you cannot successfully invoke ancestors if you are not clear about names. Part two of this will follow. I feel this is a very important topic for all those who are going back to their roots and I wish to go deeper in these topic in the future. Thokozani Siyinduna Mapopo Rampane …NDAUWE