Namibia mulls ban on offensive baby names

By Drum Digital
04 October 2014

A Namibian custom of giving babies embarrassing names like "shame on you" could be a thing of the past.

A Namibian custom of giving babies embarrassing names like "shame on you" could be a thing of the past, if one of the country's lawmakers has his way.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Peya Mushelenga told AFP on Friday he wants a legal ban on the practice of vengeful fathers calling their children names like "Ndalipo" -- "I was there".

Such names are relatively common among Namibia's dominant Aawambo tribe. "Fathers cannot use naming opportunities to take revenge (on) mothers," said Mushelenga. "The issue of naming has emotional and psychological effects on the child who carries the name for the rest of his or her life," he said.

"It is bad for parents to settle scores through giving children ridiculous names."

Many countries around the world have restrictions on permissible children's names.

Namibia's Law Reform and Development Commission plans to hold a online poll to help decide if the country should do the same.

-SAPA

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