Dawbies in Africa


25 Oct 2012


When you know the name of someone or something communication is established and connections are made. Those of you who are teachers will also know that knowing the names of the children in your class is an important part of establishing discipline and order, as well as relationship. At the After School program one of our biggest challenges has been learning the names of the children in our group.

While there are a few children with ‘English’ names we can easily identify and remember (Queen, Precious, Charity) because they are more familiar to us, there are many more whose names contain sounds that are unfamiliar. They are  Otjiherero names and when we look at them on paper we have no idea how to sound them out ( the phonetics are different ). For most of the names we lack the cultural context to work out whether this is a boy’s or girl’s name so it has even been difficult to match names to faces / personalities to try to make the task of learning them easier.

One Friday afternoon, during the planning and preparation meeting, we took aside one of the volunteers and asked them to help us work out the pronunciation of each name. I wrote each down in English phonetics and so now we are working our way through this list each day trying to get them into our heads. Please pray that we will be able to learn these kids names so that we may make a real connection with them.

As a taste for you here are two lists of names. Can you work out which list contains the boys names and which is the girls? How would you pronounce them? Answers to follow.

List 1 : Tjijandjeua; Undamije; Uendjipa; Ugia; Mypangure

List 2 : Tjaimba; Veteeruaije, Vetjiua, Vinomaandero; Naanda


List 1 is the girls. Pronunciation = She-an-jay-wa; Und-a-moi-air; When-jee-pa; Why-a; Mu-pan-gur-eh

List 2 is the boys. Pronunciation = Shy-im-ba; Vair-te-rua-ear; Vair-she-wa; Vino-marn-dero; Narn-da ( he is one of the easier ones I have to admit )

Jesus said,” I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.”                        John 10: 14 - 15

Kid's at the After School Program are always keen to have their photo taken!