My Surname Makes Me Less of a Wambu?



| Published: August 2016, in The Namibian Sun |

*Wambu is a shortened term for Oshiwambo, a native tribe in Namiba

Upon a trip to the printing shop, I encountered what must have been the most ignorant of debates. I call it a debate, but our lungs could barely refill the air that forcefully expelled from our mouths. It all began calmly enough, when I went over to collect the copies of my Spanish book and was having a conversation about foreign languages with one of the girls, when the ignorant man of the month calmly, and unnecessarily, commented that we embrace European languages and the western lifestyle, which is what’s wrong with the “women of today”. I could argue the “women of today” part of his comment, but in all honesty, it is not the highlight. I also only have a limited amount of words to my disposal. Onto more of the lovely gentleman. He of course continued to spew more nonsense until, as if in slow motion said, “ I also hate these copycat Wambus, with surnames that are not traditional,”. My eyes could not have rolled further to the back of my head. I’ll give you a moment to think that over, which should equal the momentary shock I had before I matched his level. I leapt not only at my defence, but at the defence of all the Oshiwambo descendants that do not don a “Shikongo, Iipinge or Haludilu” alongside their name. Excuse me for not being able to possess a name of the appropriate Oshiwambo caliber. Forget the fact that I can speak the language, and visit the village, though not as often as I would like. According to this lovely gentleman, a fake Wambu is one which has married a none Oshiwambo partner, a woman that challenges their husband, because those are, apparently “white people things”, and one who can not, god forbid, cook ehanda or oshithima. We are in the 21st century, not all of us were raised in the village, not all of us were taught how to cook the traditional way because, surprise surprise, our parents had to leave as teenagers to either fight for this country or be educated to better this country. So god forbid, that I, do not have a traditional surname, because I know of Naftali’s, Amakali’s and even Haisiku’s that cannot utter a word of the language, squint at the most simple “Walalapo” and cringe at the sight of the traditional food. So dear lovely gentleman that I met at the internet cafe, my surname does not make me any less of a Wambu.

*Ehanda= Dried Spinach

* Oshithima= Traditional Porridge

Image source: Daily Mail