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The African Book of Names: 5,000+ Common and Uncommon Names from the African Continent Paperback – January 5, 2009
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'Askhari Johnson Hodari has put together an invaluable resource book. . . . Inspiring and informative, it is a fascinating glimpse into an important part of African cultural traditions.'
--Pearl Cleage, author of What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day
-Betty DeRamus, author of Freedom by Any Means and Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad (Betty DeRamus)|'Dr. Askhari Johnson Hodari captures the essence of African cultural identity and expressivity with this wonderfully rich treasure trove of African names that are at the root of African creativity and intellect. The African Book of Names is a testament of affirmation, confirmation, and reclamation, both transformative and empowering, returning us to our ancestral home.'
-Tony Medina, author of My Old Man Was Always on the Lam and I and I, Bob Marley (Tony Medina)|'We love to come up with unique names for our children―I even know a 'Uniquequa.' Dr. Hodari has now provided us with a book of unique names that have meaning. To name is to claim. Let's claim our future by giving our children meaningful names.'
-Kalamu ya Salaam, New Orleans, writer/educator/moviemaker (Kalamu ya Salaam)|'The African Book of Names addresses the complexity and cultural sensitivity of descendants of enslaved Africans in the western hemisphere. Since the 1960s, African descendants have renamed ourselves or given our children African designations. [Askhari Hodari's] work is a tremendous resource as it not only provides names but offers context for such decisions. Her book will contribute to reconnection and community-building throughout the African world.
-Akinyele Umoja, Associate Professor, Black Studies, Georgia State University (Akinyele Umoja)|
'Most impressive is the way The African Book of Names remarkably and ingeniously resonates the life, history, culture, and spirit of Africa from all corners of the continent. And the icing on the cake is the included two-hundred-year naming calendar. This book is a 'must-read' masterpiece.'
-Michele R. Wright, author of Dear Success Seeker
- Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles Times)
About the Author
For more information about The African Book of Names, or the author please direct your browser to: www.africanbookofnames.com.
Top Customer Reviews
Or, to put it another way: when's the last time any of us saw a baby name book that was actually interesting enough to sit down and READ cover to cover?
What makes it so much better than most? THE AFRICAN BOOK OF NAMES is so intelligently put together, treating both the reader and the subject matter with respect. Unlike the vast majority of baby name books out there, it's not just a straightforward list of names and meanings -- which, let's face it, is fairly readily available on the Internet, if you're looking for only common names -- but a thoughtfully-constructed examination of the significance of naming in various African and African-American cultures.
Yes, there are indeed lists, but such lists! Arranged by categories of meaning, the names are also presented by region of origin and circumstance under which a particular name might be applied. And we're not just talking about names that translate as Daisy or Strong One here -- names like the Azanian Nothango (one who forms a buffer against the enemy), the Ugandan Nangila (born while the parents were traveling around), and the Camaroonian Akam Bowho (one who does not have a problem) abound in this book.
This is a powerful resource for writers, in short; I highly recommend it. You'll never run out of fascinating name choices.
For the last thirty years I have performed New Afrikan naming ceremonies for new borns, students and comrades choosing to adopt Afrikan names. Johnson's text is the best source in print that I have seen.
This book is also NOT meant to be a quick-fix for a name---(although you can if you wish)---because the amount of Afrikan names in this book is amazing, along with their Tribal &/or country-lineages and many languages listed as well as their meanings. The way she breaks down the names into a myriad of categories (or "Themes" as she puts it) forces you to seriously consider the way you want your name to represent you or your child, and what kind of energy you want to bring to yourself or child from The Universe every single time someone says that name---even in a whisper! =) Initially, I felt that I only needed to create a hyphenated last name because I already had a first & middle name chosen. But these Themes, no doubt, led me to some different meanings of names that I never thought of before for myself, yet felt compelled to choose. So I realized my name was going to be a long one (which is also something Ms. Hodari explains here)!Read more ›
Hodari's book would break new ground even if it merely listed the meaning and origins of more than 5,000 African names. However, by the time you finish her book you'll have learned more than that Latifah means gentle in East Africa, that Bamua means "Daddy is tired" in Cameroon, that Chika means "God is great" in Nigeria or that Nefertiti means "The beautiful one has arrived" in Egypt.
You'll have learned something about the many African cultures and experiences these names reflect. You'll also know why singer Gladys Knight named her daughter Kenya, why actor Danny Glover called his daughter Mandisa, why Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali and why basketball player Lew Alcindor became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1971.
Hodari is an educator and writer who has studied and collected African names for more than two decades. I enjoyed her book not only because she had the good sense to arrange her names by meaning and to include instructions for naming ceremonies.
There is something almost intoxicating about saying words like Zalimba, pronounced zah-LEHM-bah, which means "It is difficult" in Malawi or Kambihi, pronounced Kahm-Bee-hee, which means "whirlwind" in Zambia. Hodari says she embraced African names because they "feel elegant to my ear and enthuse my tongue." So they do.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was truly surprised when The African Book of Names arrived days before I expected it. So I appreciate than,Published 29 days ago by Amazon Customer
There are some very beautiful african names in this book. However being that my husband's side of the family is from Liberia, we were looking for names from that country and didn't... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Arlissia Drayton
The perfect gift for children and all people of color contemplating parenthood—names with meaning. There is power in a name.Published 13 months ago by G S
I actually liked that the book was organized by meaning rather than alphabetically by name.
I was looking for certain meanings and names that I liked that coincided with those... Read more
A truly wonderful work. Not only did the book have a large sample of African names and meanings of the names from around the continent of Africa, but the book contained a lot of... Read morePublished on June 29, 2014 by H.B. Scribbler
I really can't give this book a good review because it's complicated. The names are listed by "Meaning" so unless you know what the meaning is, you will have to look... Read morePublished on February 8, 2014 by faith
I personally think there could be more balance on name origins. I was expecting more West African names, most are from the southern hemisphere of the African continent.Published on January 21, 2013 by Yoshi3329
I found Dr. Hodari's book to be an outstanding resource for searching for African names, which is something that I've had to do on the four occasions of the birth of my children... Read morePublished on September 17, 2012 by MusicNut