A Girl Named ShiThead

Posted by Potion
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on Wednesday, 11 July 2007
in Digital Blogs
How telling is your name. Sometimes everything. It gives clues to your language, culture or religion; and whether you'll be invited for a job interview.

After checking out their blog, I was prompted to read for a second time Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner's Freakonomics, the chapter on given names and how they affect their bearers' opportunities in life. They talk of a young African-American girl who was given the unfortunate name Shithead. Pronounced "Sh' Theed", her well-meaning but less than worldly mother thought it sounded elegant and strong, perhaps like Sinead. But, of course, all she gave was a handicap and a few minutes of mirth and incredulity for anyone having to read the child's college or job application form.

In this country one's name makes it almost transparent where you come from, culturally, geographically and even economically. Chesley is definitely vanniekaap, and Andrew probably has some Scottish money behind him. Farrell and Morris went to King David, and José fled Mozambique with his parents 35 years ago. Bulelani and Nosizwe were born in the Eastern Cape, Geelbooi comes from Keimoes, and Dumisani and Bongani are from the Natal Midlands. Koos and Piet are maize farmers, and Matthew and Gabriella attend school in Jo'burg's northern suburbs, while Mugamat and Farhad probably spend most of their Fridays praying. Costas owns the local Spar, his son George is a lawyer. Kai and Raine hang out on th beach.

You can probably tell what soapies were around when some kids' were Born. Jenna, Thorn, Taylor and Storm come to mind. I'm sure there are a thousand Brees or Edies being named right now. Novel now, but how they'll curse their parents' limited creativity when they fill out their job applications.

But is it that straight forward? Recently I've met Afrikaaners named Mpho and Thabo. I can't say whether they are simply embracing the spirit of a new nation, or if they're improving their chances in the job market. Either way, you've gotta admire them! And yes, they were both invited to a job interview.

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PattiLain Thursday, 12 July 2007

I sometimes wonder if I will ruin my kids lives with the names I intend. But then again, it\'s so often do parents give their kids the names they wanted. And I\'m no exception.

I once heard of a man whose parents named him Bunny.

Why would you DO that?!

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