So in church today, Pastor said we should introduce ourselves to our neighbors and say hello.
Me: Hi, I’m Seember
Neighbor: Same day? Where are you from?
Why is this always happening?
Other versions of my name I’ve heard: December, Assembly, Sumbo, Simbi, Zembe, Sambe, Samba, Simba (Mufasa that one time)…and a whole lot more ridiculousness.
See I’ve always thought I had a very common name. It’s Tiv. Where I’m from, if you stood in a large group of people and randomly yelled out Seember, I bet you half the room will turn because….common! So imagine my confusion when people ask and say to me in exaggerated tones “OMG! That’s such a unique name, I’ve never heard it, where is that from? Tiv? Is that from Kogi?” etc. I never quite know how to answer these.
First off, when Nigerians do this, it irritates me. Now I’m not saying all Nigerians must know every name and its origin but when I get those extra questions like “Tiv? Where is that?” I just mentally check out of that conversation.
Nigerians in general are very well read, travelled and exposed, we have friends every place. We learn their names – Chinese, Russian, Polish, German, etc – and we say them right. Names such as – Przemyslaw, Zakrzewski, Wozniak, Safstrom, Ljungberg, Eklof, Lofqvist and those footballer names – full of consonants and alphabets that are missing from the English language sef. But we say these names and we say it right. Ergo, not knowing how to pronounce a Nigerian name (or even caring to make a proper attempt) and wondering if “Tiv is Kogi” makes me wonder if it’s about selective interest. How is anyone asking if Tiv is Kogi? First off, one is a tribe/language and the other is a state, lol. And while we are on the topic, asking someone if they speak Benue/Kogi/Kaduna etc. is not correct; states are states and the languages spoken therein vary greatly even in name [stay with me!]
Now, I do not know every name in Nigeria, but I like to think I can give a good guess of possible origins when I hear any and I dare say I can pronounce it well once I’ve heard it enunciated. Didn’t we all recite our 36 States and capitals in primary school? Didn’t we all read our Simbi and Ali go to school? Bassey, Okon and Edet lived in Calabar; Passport of Mallam Ilia; and lots more? Your knowledge of Nigeria cannot be limited to Lagos, Abuja and your home state. Too poor.
Are you from Tiv? Do you speak Benue? No I am from Benue and I speak Tiv. My name is Seember [say-aim-bay] and I know how to say your name right. Bye for now 😀
PS: The other day I was watching Wendy Williams and her guest for the day was Quvenzhane Wallis; Wendy just couldn’t get it right. She said the name at least 10 times and each time wrong. Is it too much to ask that you get the name of the guest on your show right? Pfft!!
PPS: I took some selfies on my way back from church because….. VAIN!! Plus, you just don’t let good lighting go to waste 😀
Also, brownie points for anyone who knows the movie I referenced in the title of this post.
Do you have one of those names that gets butchered alot? Tell me about it below, lets rant together 😀