Friday, June 8, 2018

Igbo Names That Refer To Mother Or Father (with comments about the meaning of the name Nnekata, the title of Flavour's 2017 Highlife song)

Edited by Azizi Powell

Update: July 4, 2018- This Update includes a comment exchange that corrects my mistaken guess that the name "Nnekata" in Flavour's song of that title means "motherhood is great". I've also embedded that video in this post since I referenced it here.

Latest update August 3, 2018 - I considered deleting this post, but decided not to although I now understand that "Nnekata" isn't a name. I'm retaining this post because the examples of this sub-set of Igbo names may be of interest to non-Igbo speaking people in the USA and elsewhere. And I think that the exchange of comments about the word "Nnekata" (which seems to be used as a name in the embedded video's comment thread) may be of interest to some readers.

This pancocojams post presents a list of Igbo (Nigeria, West Africa) given names that refer to mother or father. Note that some of the names that refer to father may also refer to God the Father.

The Addendum to this post provides quotes from a YouTube discussion thread for Igbo Highlife artist Flavour's song entitled "Nnekata" and my comments about those quotes.

The content of this post is presented for onomastics and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.
Click for Part I of a related pancocojams series entitled " Words For Father & Mother In Various African Languages (A-L)". Click for Part II. Part II provide entries for languages from M-Z.

Source: Nigerian Baby Names 320 Igbo Names For Girls , March 17, 2016

Adanne - her mother’s daughter*

Ezinne- good mother

Nnebuife- mother (hood) is great

Nnedi- mother (hood) is beautiful

Nneka - mother(hood) is great

Nnekasi- Mother(hood) is the greatest

Nnenna -Her father’s mother

Nneoma - her father’s mother"
*Note that "nna" means "father" in Igbo and "Adanna" means "Her father’s daughter"; "Adannaya" means "her father’s daughter"; and "Ahunna" means "body of her father".

(Note that some of these names may also refer to God the Father)

Echezonanna= Don’t forget your God (your father)

Elochukwukwu/Elonna= God’s thought

Enyinna/Enyinnaya- His father’s friend

Jidenna= Hold on to your God/father

Kaitobenna= Let us praise God

Lotanna= remember the father (God)

Nkenna= belongs to the father (God)

Obinna= his father’s heart

Ogonna= favour from God

I was motivated to research this subject of Igbo given names that refer to mother or father after reading these comments in this discussion thread for the official YouTube music video for Nigerian Highlife artist Favour's song entitled "Nnekata":

Crazyp, April 2018
"What does Nnekata mean? Also much love from the USA, we love the music"

Isaac Chukwu, April, 2018
"Crazyp it means " when I look how endowed you are"

Crazyp, 2018
"Isaac Chukwu thank you ✊🏿"

Da Wae, 2018
"What is nnekatas instagram"
This comment refers to the woman who played the role of Nnekata in the official video of this song.

Isaac Chukwu, April 2018
"Da Wae it means " looking at your qualities "
This comment was (probably accidentally) repeated two times.

Regina C, April 2018
"Her instagram page is ''descushiel ''"
Here's the comment that I wrote about the name "Nnekata" with a correction from an Igbo speaker which I just received on this date:
As an African American who is interested in naming traditions, I had picked up (from online reading) the fact that Igbo names are made by combining certain elements. I had learned that the element "nne" in Igbo names means mother and that element can be found as a prefix (at the beginning of a name) or as a suffix (at the end of name). I also had learned that the element "nna" in Igbo names means "father" (or sometimes God the father) and that element could be found as a prefix (at the beginning of a name or as a suffix (at the end of a name).

Therefore, when I saw the song title "Nnekata" performed by an Igbo man, I assumed that that name somehow referred to "mother". I still believe that name refers to mother, and also believe that Isaac Chukwu (whose last name is clearly Igbo) is joking with those who sincerely asked the meaning of that name.

There's no question in that video and song that "Nnekata" is a female name, and that fact also is reinforced by comments in the discussion thread such as the one asking for Nnekata's instagram (or the instagram for the woman acting in the role of Nnekata.

The fact that the "nne" element refers to mother in Igbo names isn't the only clue that the replies that Isaac Chukwu wrote in response to queries about the meaning of the name "Nnekata" are most certainly false. The other clue are the meanings that he ascribed to that name- " "when I look how endowed you are" and "Looking at your qualities".

In Flavour's video, all the woman are what African Americans refer to as "thick", meaning "well endowed", "curvaceous", "voluptuous". However, the woman starring as Nnekata, has the largest butt of all the woman in that video. Hence, Issac Chukwu's fake name meaning.

Although Isaac Chukwu may not have meant that undoubtedly fake definition to be taken as the real meaning of the name, it seems likely that some people (including the first person who posted that query, assumed that Isaac Chukwu was responding in good faith. Given how fast fake information can be accepted as fact after being posted online, even though I'm not Igbo and don't speak that or any other African language, I feel that it is important to try to correct the information posted about that name.

I don't know what Nnekata means,but I think it's likely that it's a form of the female name "Nneka" (meaning "mother(hood) is great".
UPDATE July 4, 2018-
Here's the comment that I wrote in the discussion thread for the video "Nnekata":

Azizi Powell, June 2018
"I'm an African American who happened upon this video yesterday and glad I did. Thanks Flavour for this song and its video!

Like a number of other people who aren't from Africa, I'm interested in learning about the cultures that are shown in African music videos. In addition to watching these videos, I read the comments, hoping to learn more about the songs and the cultures showcased in the videos. Because I and I believe a lot of Black people (and other people) who aren't from Africa sincerely want to learn about African cultures, I'm sorry that it seems to me that two sincere queries about the meaning of the name Nnekata were taken as a joke in this discussion thread by a person who clearly had an Igbo last name (Chukwu). That commenter said that Nnekata meant " when I look how endowed you are" or " looking at your qualities".

From the little bit of information about Igbo language that I've gathered by reading online, I learnt that the element "nne" means "mother" in Igbo. Therefore, my guess is that the female name "Nnekata" is a form of the name "Nneka" which means "mother(hood) is great". Is this right? Would someone please share what "Nnekata" means?

Thanks! One love."
Here are the replies to my comment from that discussion thread.
JoStylin, June 2018
"Hi Azizi, I will try and find an answer to your question. My Igbo is not fluent but I will research and find more info for you. God Bless."

"Gertrude Ig, July 4, 2018
"Azizi Powell the person that first responded to you is correct. Nnekata in this context has nothing to do with 'mother'. Igbo is a context language. Nnekata in this context means literally ' as I look at you'......( you are too much, I am overwhelmed......)"

Azizi Powell, June 2018
"Thanks, JoStylin. I appreciate it and I look forward to finding out the meaning of the name "Nnekata"."

Gertrude Ig, July 4, 2018
"Azizi Powell you are welcome. And try not to 'guess' at my language anymore lol."

Azizi Powell, July 4, 2018
"Gertrude Ig, I stand corrected with my head bowed and my heart full of gratitude for the fact that you didn't severely scold me for my attempted translation..

There are many people like me in the African Diaspora who watch these YouTube videos of African songs and read these discussion threads and hope to come across comments from people who speak these languages for explanations about what the songs mean.

I glad that you were willing to share that information about this song's title."
Gertrude Ig, July 4, 2018
"Azizi Powell no problem. Flavour does more Igbo high life and Phyno, another Igbo artiste does more urban and rap. You may want to check him out, though he talks really fast. His music remind me ALOT of my childhood which to me is the best childhood to have I.e growing up in Nigeria. A lot of wonderful memories and Phyno likes to evoke nostalgia is his music. Caution though - a lot of his earlier stuff is eye brow raising both his recent music is much more popular. Cheers!"

Azizi Powell, July 4, 2018
"Gertrude Ig, Daalụ(I got that word from Google translate for Igbo for thank you . I hope it's correct).

It's a thunder & lightning storm here so I'm signing off.

One Love!"

Gertrude Ig, July 5, 2018
"Azizi Powell Correct. I read your blog. It is commendable that you are trying to learn Igbo, but you should delete EVERYTHING you said about the Igbo guy who tried to give you the correct translation. It was very unfair and you did not do right by him. He is an actual Igbo and you are not. So reading your analysis of his 'fake translation' pained me a lot. Please delete all you wrote about him. Thanks."

Azizi Powell, July 5, 2018
"Good morning, Gertrude Ig.

I don't delete comments on my blog, but I will add your comment

I acknowledge that I made an incorrect assumption that Isaac Chukwu was teasing non-Igbo people with his English translation of the name "Nnekata" and I sincerely apologize to Isaac Chukwu.

I have read some comments online-not necessarily in this discussion- in which Nigerians and other Africans tease or otherwise belittle African Americans . That and the little information that I've read online about the name "Nneka" and the element "nne" caused me to leap to the wrong conclusions.

In the interest of sharing more about your culture, I respectfully ask if Nnkeata in this song is an actual personal name- as I've read Nneka is and/or how "Nnekata in this context has nothing to do with 'mother'. Igbo is a context language. Nnekata in this context means literally ' as I look at you'......( you are too much, I am overwhelmed......) " With the exception of the "ta" ending, are these two words/names pronounced the same?

The reason that I voluntarily curate my pancocojams blog is to share cultural examples of and information about African American and other Black cultures throughout the world. I very much appreciate your exchange of information about this name and the perils of people trying to translate a language when they (including me) only know a little bit about that language that was found online.

Thank you."

Azizi Powell, July 5, 2018
"Nnekata". Sorry for the incorrect spelling.
Thanks to all of these commenters for responding to my question.

Gertrude Ig, August 3, 2018
"+Azizi Powell no it is not a name. In Igbo language two or three things can have the same spelling but different tonal pronunciation. Like the word 'akwa' can mean either egg, bed, dress, cry or to mourn....depending on the way it is used. So Nnekata is simply a verb in this case, not a noun or name."

Azizi Powell, August 3, 2018
"Thanks for that explanation, Gertrude Ig.

I really appreciate it.

One love!"

My June 8, 2018 comment continued:
Also, after looking at the lists of female Igbo names and male Igbo names that were compiled in the above cited site, my guess is that the "ta" suffix added to the end of the name "Nneka" is a rather new form of that name. I surmised that because there are no "ta" ending Igbo names included in the list of female names on that site. However, there were female names ending in "ka", "ma", "da", "ya", "fa", "sa", "ra", "na" or "ia".

There were a few male Igbo names ending in "ta" on that website:

Chukwucheta- remember me Lord

Akuabata= wealth has come in

Osita/Ositdinma= may good things stay permanent

The other suffixes ending in "a" for male Igbo names on that website were "pa", "na","sa", "ka", "na", "ma", "ha", "ra", "ga", "ya", "la", or ba"

I don't know what the "ta" element means in Igbo names. My guess is that "ta" has a meaning in Igbo names and that meaning would be added to the meaning of the name Nneka to get the meaning for the name "Nnekata".

If you know the REAL meaning of the name NNekata please share it in that YouTube video's discussion thread and/or in the comment section for this pancocojams post.


SHOWCASE VIDEO: Flavour - Nnekata [Official Video]

Official Flavour, Published on Sep 29, 2017

Flavour presents the video for “Nnekata", the eighth track off Flavour's current album, Ijele- The Traveler."

Directed by Tchidi Chikere.

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