Saturday, March 24, 2018

Five Examples Of Non-Ghanaian & Non-Côte d'Ivoire African Males With The Akan Traditional Name "Kwame"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides examples of five African* males who aren't Akan who have the given name "Kwame" ("Kwame" is a traditional Akan (Ghana/Ivory Coast) day name that means "male born on Saturday").

The Addendum to this post showcases a video of Martin Kwame, a Kenyan man whose last name (surname) is "Kwame". I have seen a few other examples of "Kwame" used as a last name (in a large online list of famous people from Ghana and in a Google reference about Kenya that I didn't document). However, I don't know the source or sources for the surname "Kwame".

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, and onomastic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Kwame Nkrumah for his life's legacy. Thanks to all those who are featured in this post and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.
*In the context of this post, by "Africans", I mean people from African nations.

Click for a pancocojam post entitled The Roots Of & Characteristics Associated With Akan Day Names (Ghana & The Ivory Coast, West Africa) [the previous title of this post was "Names For Days Of The Week In Akan (Ghana & The Ivory Coast"]

Click for a Wikipedia page that lists a few African American males with the name "Kwame".

My guess is that among non-Akan people (in Africa, in the United States, and elsewhere) the name "Kwame" is familiar largely because of Kwame Nkrumah and it's also my guess that many non-Akan males throughout the world have been given the name "Kwame" in honor of Kwame Nkrumah. Here some information about Kwame Nkrumah:
"Kwame Nkrumah (21 September 1909[a] – 27 April 1972) was a Ghanaian politician and revolutionary. He was the first prime minister and president of Ghana, having led it to independence from Britain in 1956. An influential advocate of Pan-Africanism, Nkrumah was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity"...

These examples are given in no particular order.

These men's nation of origin is given in parenthesis. Numbers are assigned to these examples for referencing purposes only.

1. Kwame Rugunda (Uganda)
"Kwame steps out of Rugunda’s closet; May 14, 2012; written by joomlasupport
"He might resemble his father in many ways; the looks and amiable character, among others, but Kwame Rugunda has finally stepped out of his father’s closet.

Eloquent, intelligent and a consummate reader, Kwame deciphers the deficit crisis in Europe like a global economics pundit. An electrical engineer by profession, Kwame juggles the fields of ICT, trade and commerce with admirable dexterity. A son to ICT minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Kwame is contesting for one of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) seats on the ruling party ticket.

“Our federation can no longer just be considered as a noble idea by politicians but rather it must translate into the everyday thoughts, actions and livelihoods of our citizens,” argues Kwame, who has been working as Vice President of the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


In a measured tone, Kwame also talks about growing up under the tutelage of his amiable father, fondly called Ndugu.
“Ndugu has played an important role in the country; there are many children he has nurtured,” says Kwame of his father. “I have greatly benefitted from his tutoring. It sharpens your understanding. I similarly developed interest in politics.”

Indeed Rugunda must have shaped his son’s political thinking at an early age when he named him after Kwame Osagyefo Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president who vigorously pursued the dream of a united Africa at independence. Asked to name his role model, Kwame mentions slain Burkina Faso leader, Thomas Sankara.

“Sankara was a great pan-Africanist,” he says of the youthful leader who was assassinated in 1987 after four years in power.”...

2. Kwame Rubadiri (Malawi)
Excerpt #a
"Kwame Rubadiri is an ordained minister, communications and leadership consultant with over 35 years’ experience in international ministry. A native of Malawi, Kwame has served in Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Swaziland and South Africa as a leader and trainer in broadcast communications as well as a widely sort after preacher and conference speaker in more than 20 other African nations, Europe, Asia and North America. Kwame currently serves as Head of the Resource Mobilization Department in the Bishop’s Office at Christ is the Answer Ministries [CITAM] in Nairobi, Kenya."...

Excerpt #b
From Rubadiri on family and long career

The poet and diplomat was born in Malawi, grew up in Uganda, studied at Makerere, taught for many years in Kenya and Nigeria and has been Malawi’s diplomat to many African countries
..."For David Rubadiri is one of Africa’s foremost poets, a Malawian double exile and a diplomat, all rolled into one to form an eclectic mix of wit, charisma and measured words.

After months of trying to interview him to no avail, Saturday Nation last week met him briefly outside a private clinic in Nairobi, where he spoke of his life in exile, his connections with Kenya and the pain of living with dictators.

The poet has been ailing in recent years and had come to Nairobi for medical attention, in addition to touching base with his progeny based in Kenya.
“I have spent most of my time in Kenya mourning an old friend and a colleague,” he said of the death, three weeks ago, of Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe.

Prof Rubadiri, 83, complained that too many writers of his generation had died, naming John Ruganda, the Ugandan playwright known for The Burdens, Black Mamba and The Floods; Cyprian Ekwensi, the popular children literature writer, and Cameroonian Ferdinad Oyono, another writer-diplomat who was a colleague of Rubadiri’s during his stint at the United Nations.

“When I come to East Africa, and especially Kenya and Uganda, where some of my people still live, I feel as if I am at home again,” said the author known for such memorable poems as Stanley Meets Mutesa and An African Thunderstorm in Poems from East Africa, an Anthology of Poetry he co-edited with David Cook.


One of the most widely anthologised poets from Africa, Rubadiri is credited with making poetry, considered by some to be a hard nut to crack, enjoyable.


All the Rubadiri older children, who in descending order bear the names Kwame, Sékou, Tengo, Lunga and Lindiwe, were named after renowned African personalities.


his eldest son Kwame, today [is] a full-time Nairobi-based pastor.“...

3. Kwame Rigii (Kenya)
From "Kenya's Kwame Rigii attends Berklee workshop ahead of Gabon campus opening" By Millicent Muthoni, 10 Jan 2017
“Kenyan artist Kwame Rigii is among those selected to attend the ‘Berklee in Gabon’ workshop, a precursor to the opening of the African Music Institute (AMI) in Gabon in September this year. The workshop, which runs from 9-13 January 2017 draws more than 100 young Africans from Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Gabon among other countries.


Kwame has pioneered a growing trend by young Kenyan artists, one that seeks to preserve local languages through music. Despite being a contemporary force, he sings predominantly in his mother tongue, Kikuyu, fusing traditional with modern styles and using lyrics steeped in imagery and folk expressions that are fast fading from the Kikuyu language. However, his Kiswahili and English songs are just as notable.
Thanks to his popular love ballads, Kwame styles himself ‘Cupid's chanteur’. Some of his popular singles are ‘Malkia’, ‘Aki Wewe’, ‘Reke Ngwende’, ‘Haraya’ and ‘Githeremende’. He has done collaborations with Nyach (‘Holela’), Saint Evo (‘Kau’).”...

4. Kwame Owino (Kenya)
The ‘sacrificing’ public servant is an old Kenyan myth, SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 16 2017

[This is information about the author of this online article]

“Kwame Owino is the chief executive officer of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA-Kenya), a public policy think tank based in Nairobi.”

5. Kwame [son of travel writer Zukiswa Wanner], (Kenya?)
From A Delightful Roadtrip With Zukiswa Wanner In “Hardly Working” by Shaazia Ebrahim, Mar 6, 2018
"Zukiswa Wanner’s latest offering transports the reader from the dusty roads of Malawi on the back of a lorry to an impromptu safari from the confines of a small bus in Tanzania.

With Hardly Working: A Travel Memoir of Sorts, Wanner presents a travel memoir (of sorts) that documents her journey through several southern African countries using public transport with her partner Tchassa and her young son Kwame in 2016. Team Hero Squad, which is the name Kwame gives her family, adventures from Kenya to Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Uganda. Wanner then journeys to Europe by herself – to Denmark and then the Ukraine through Germany and Poland – before returning to the motherland to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

The trip is motivated by Wanner’s desire for her child to know the Africa beyond his school textbooks, to celebrate her 40th birthday, and mark the 10th year since her first novel, The Madams, was published by doing readings in as many countries as she could.

Her job as a writer means that Wanner is often traveling. In her new book, Wanner marries the two providing an intimate view into her travels in both Africa and Europe as a writer and a traveller.


As a travel memoir, Hardly Working has the perfect balance between description and insight. Wanner’s writing through the African leg of her journey is particularly captivating. Her parents were both political activists, her father South African and her mother Zimbabwean. She was born in Zambia, schooled in Zimbabwe, votes in South Africa, and lives in Kenya. Wanner is Africa’s child, with roots in many countries on the continent. It is from this background that she discloses childhood memories and her connections with people and places in neighbouring African countries. She also shares her observations and thoughts about her family, patriarchy, politics, and writing.


Martin Kwame's Story

BLAZE Kenya, Published on Feb 13, 2018

Meet 24 year old #BYOBTVShow contestant Martin Kwame from Kapsabet, who is a revolutionary photographer.
"Blaze" is a Kenyan reality television show
..."Just like in the first season, the show will see 12 Kenyan entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 25 years compete for a chance to win a grand prize of Sh5 million in a reality TV-style competition that will run for a period of 10 weeks."
Click for the article "Martin Kwame Talks About His Journey At Blaze And His Photography As A Door To Endless Possibilities", March 16, 2018

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1 comment:

  1. One reason why Kenyans are familiar with the given name "Kwame" is because one of the streets in Nairobi (the capitol of Kenya) was re-named in honor of Kwame Nkrumah. Here's an excerpt of an article about the subject of how some Nairobi streets were renamed after that nation gained its independence from Britain: How Nairobi came up with names of its streets, roads; SATURDAY FEBRUARY 27 2010 By STEPHEN MBURU

    "Did you know that before Kenya gained independence from Britain in 1963, streets and roads in Nairobi bore mainly English and a few South Asian names and that this situation lasted for at least a decade until founding President Jomo Kenyatta got around to ordering some changes?


    Margaret Kenyatta, daughter of the President, was mayor of Nairobi, and the City Council asked citizens to suggest new names...

    Many new names were suggested and adopted during the renaming exercise. Many streets were named either for former local freedom fighters or renowned pan-Africanists with whom President Kenyatta had interacted during the struggle for freedom. James Kangangi Njuguna argued forcefully for the preservation of history in the renaming process, even though it could recall bad things.

    He said Waiyaki, one of the first Africans to be executed for resisting British expansionism and kipande, the hated metal identification plate Africans had to wear around their necks when travelling outside their home areas, deserved to be remembered with street names. “How else do you remember the political struggle that surrounded the weapon of subjugation?” he wrote.

    And on July 29, 1973, the council renamed Queen Elizabeth Way Waiyaki Way, and created Kipande Road...

    Assistant Director of City Planning James Maina said one of the basic principles in street and road naming is to make sure the names are widely acceptable. The names could be those of wild animals and birds, livestock, and places, as well as local and international heroes (mainly the ones who passed on).

    He said President Kenyatta evidently influenced the naming of major streets for his friends or associates in the pan-African freedom struggle, including Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania."...