Resource 2: Name poems and stories

Teacher resource for planning or adapting to use with pupils

A name poem written by a teacher in South Africa

Marumo – My Praise Name by Marumo Magdalene Mafokoane

The pride of the family –
Who brought this name?
How did it come to me?
No one in the family deserved it – except me!
My late aunt Mankwana’s name.
My parents did not choose it – the spirits did,
Long before I was conceived.
Marumo – the name that gives hope.
Marumo – my special name.
The spirits told my mother in a vision
You will conceive and give birth to twins.
Name the girl child after her late aunt Makwana Marumo.
She will survive the storms of life.
Give the boy child a name of your choice.
We will take him to ourselves at an early age.
(I still grieve for you, Maile.)
Marumo – meaning weapons.
Our forefathers used them to defend themselves.
So do I.
I am a fighter. I stand up for my rights.
I have fought many battles.
I have won many battles.
I am Marumo.
If I am about to drown, I think of my name.
Marumo. I gain courage and strength to move on.
My parents chose my other name – Magdalene.
A biblical name for a Sunday baby.
Both names are special, but Marumo is my strength.
Marumo is my pride.

A name poem written by a teacher in South Africa

Thoughts about the letters of my name by Thabo X

T stands for tough – I’m a man of steel
H is for happy – the way I feel
A is for ambition to be the...
One of a kind – that’s me!

A name story written by a teacher in South Africa

A naming story that was told to me by Mbhevula Ntuli

A long time ago, in the middle of summer, my grandfather, then named Mavuvu, went to the river to fulfil some ritual ceremonies. There he came across a full-grown buffalo that had come to drink. The animal charged him and they fought. He killed the massive beast and immediately ran home to tell his father about his amazing feat. His father, Muraai, sent a message round the village and people rushed to the river. It was true – there lay the dead buffalo!
From that day Mavuvu received great respect from whoever knew what he had done. Men and women, young and old, honoured him. Some people started to give him the nickname ‘Mbhevula’. The whispered name reached the ears of his father Muraai who decided to call the tribe together for a name-changing ceremony. Officially, Mavuvu became Mbhevula, meaning ‘buffalo’ in the Ndebele language.
When I was born, in the middle of the 20th century, I was named after my grandfather. It is a name that I associate with the courage and strength of my ancestor and I am proud of it.

Resource 1: Preparing lessons on name or praise poems

Resource 3: Praise poems and stories