Sunday, October 28, 2018

Go to Africa - Get a New Name (Part 2 of 3) - Our Life in Costa Rica Yr #3

For those of you who have never traveled to Africa, it is quite the experience. If you are African American and you have your DNA traced you will probably have the urge to visit your ancestral home.

Fortunately for me, my (African) DNA results were not spread out all over the place (until I got these last 2 tests back that is - more on that later) So in the beginning, I devoted myself to traveling to Guinea Bissau.

Today with so much turmoil going on in the US, there is a Back to Africa Movement going on. With Ghana's Year of the Return 2019, Ghana invites African Americans to return to Ghana (where some 15 million Africans passed into slavery). A new wave of African Americans are escaping the incessant racism and prejudice in the United States. I am finding more and more sites and youtubes about people who have decided to relocate back to the motherland.

"You might not have electricity, but you won't get killed by the police either."

Door of No Return - Goree Island Senegal West Africa
Today it could be called the "door of return" as many African Americans return to the motherland. 

Although we are currently happy with our life here in Costa Rica, I encourage folks to travel to Africa if they have a chance.  I immediately felt a sense of belonging. It's a truly fascinating continent.

While I was in Africa, I even got a new name.

Where did my name come from?

For African Americans, more than likely it came from a name that was given to your ancestors in slavery hundreds of years ago. When people argue that we need to get over slavery… that it didn’t happen to us or anyone that we know… few consider the impact it still has on us today. That among the many ways we still carry the burden of our ancestors, the most obvious is what we call ourselves.

“What is in a name?

Existing slave ship manifests for the Atlantic slave trade record numbers, gender, approximate age of slaves, and occasionally “nation” (tribal identity). Very rarely, do plantation slave lists reveal a name that appears to be an African name. This is why it was impossible for me to search back before 1865. 

African cultures have various ways of naming a child, ranging from the Akan naming system based on days of the week to the Egyptian more cosmic one.

"pounding grain" - Whenever there is a naming ceremony grain is brought to pound - it is the first act of the naming ceremony (after the animal has been sacrificed)

I was very honored when the village of Quebo, Guinea Bissau bestowed upon me a new African name. 
Nenegale Djalo

During the ceremony my name: Nenegale Djalo  was "bequethed" to me - by the Head Imam of all of Quebo; Usmani Seidi - He stated that from that day forth I would have the name, Nenegale Djalo, the daughter of Alhaji Aruno Rachid Djalo!
Fatamata Djalo - only living sister (both parents) of Nenegale

BTW - In California, you have the right to change your name by “usage”. It will be necessary to eventually get a decree from the courts in order to change it on your drivers license, social security card and other official documents, but there’s no reason to wait until you can afford all of that. source

Currently, there are around 200 million people in the Americas identifying themselves as of African descent, according to the United Nations. Millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent, and in most cases they experience racism and discrimination.
To promote the respect for and protection of their human rights, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2015–2024 as the “The International Decade for the People of African Descent”, to be marked annually on 25 March.

Come back for part 3 - Who am I? How these DNA tests got me all confused!

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