Why I Don’t Use My Husbands African Surname Why Many Africans Give Their Children ‘English Names’

Self-loathing coupled with the need to be European for acceptance

TB Obwoge
3 min readFeb 7, 2022


Public Domain Blank Name Tag

I could end this here and say “fucking racism & fucking tribalism” and go take a nap! So in Kenya people would know not only what area of Kenya my husband comes from but they’d know his tribe. I would be treated accordingly to how whomever I’m dealing with feels towards that said tribe. Plus I’m light skin, Black American (mzungu considered White + a woman)!

All these things would factor into prices I would be charged, the way I’m treated, if I could get a job, apartment or buy a home, anything, thats for in Kenya. (other countries too) Now in any other country they’d fuck up the pronunciation of this said last name (surname) then they’d treat me as an ‘African’ which comes with much hmmm… shall we say RACISM & HATRED?

When I have told people that I live in Ghana & I am in the United States people say; “WOW YOUR ENGLISH IS SO GOOD”!

  • English is the fucking official language in many African countries, many Africans speak more 3 or more languages MOST Americans speak only 1*

Now when you ask many people their names in African countries you’d expect to hear some beautiful, wonderful African names, right? Well not much, they have ‘house names’ (nicknames) that may be African yet most have Biblical, Islamic or English names as they call them. Names which a foreigner can easily pronounce I can only assume (insert shoulder shrug) I think anyone taught a name can learn to pronounce it eventually.

One man I asked said he wanted his Ghanian children to get good jobs so he named them with non-African first names. A lot of parents said much of the same thing I’ve met even a Johnathan Kennedy, Emmanuel is very popular along with Jacob in West Africa. Hillary for men in Kenya, Wycliffe, Joel, Charles and Calvin in Kenya.

I love that Kenyans stick with the names like Kimathi, Kinoti, Musa and Uhuru yet all over Africa Mary is very popular for women. If one is to get employed living in an African country I don’t understand why anyone would overlook them for having an African name…



TB Obwoge

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