Ga-Dangmes advised to keep their unique naming patterns

Mr. Daniel Kabu Narteh, a veteran Ga language teacher, has advised people of Ga-Dangme descent to keep their unique naming patterns for their children to protect their identity.

Mr. Narteh, who has been teaching Ga for over 40 years, speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview, said adopting fashionable and trendy names over traditional names has become a norm that needs to be looked at.

The interview, which sought to find out how the adoption trendy names is affecting the identity of Ghanaians was a step of the Tema Office of the Ghana News Agency (GNA) as Ghana celebrates Ghana Heritage Month 2024.

Heritage month takes place in the month of March, which happens to be Ghana’s independence month. It is filled with tours, events and activities highlighting Ghana’s rich heritage. The period is also sometimes referred to as Ghana Month.

The Month is designated to celebrate and portray Ghana’s rich cultural heritage, diversity and all the cords that unit the citizens as a nation.

Mr Narteh said h
aving names such as dromo (grace), dzormor/jormor (blessing), and yijiemor (praise), among others, sounds trendy, but it was not enough and did not depict the traditions and origins of the children.

He stated that after choosing these names and religious ones, parents must add the original name the baby was born into to their names, as that makes them true Ga-Dangmes.

He explained that the naming patterns that were put in place many centuries ago by the forebears make it easy to identify the town, quarter, and family a person hails from the moment the name is mentioned.

Mr Narteh said that no matter where the child finds himself, he could always trace his ancestry by using his or her given name.

He explained that irrespective of the day a child is born among the Ga-Dangmes, they already carry their name with them, as before they were born, the elders already knew the name they would bear, be it a girl or a boy, as the pattern is well structured with every family and quarter having their own unique names f
or their children based on their order of birth.

He said another worrying trend was naming children several weeks after birth, explaining that under the Ga culture, babies are named exactly eight days after their birth on the day they were born.

He expressed worry that due to the cosmopolitan nature of the Greater Accra Region now and the proliferation of churches whose leadership is often non-indigenous, Ga-Dangme children are now being named months after their birth and on Saturdays and Sundays, even though they might have been born on other days.

Mr Narteh said even though the traditions of the people of the Greater Accra region allow for the postponement of naming if the baby is sick, the current trend is unacceptable and therefore calls on parents and churches not to see the traditions of their host as fetish.

He stated, for instance, that during a traditional naming ceremony, people of prominence are invited to pray good omens for the baby to grow up into a respectable adult, adding that the special
prayers are also said for the parents while the community is encouraged to help shape the character of the child as they grow.

The veteran Ga-Dangme language teacher further said that the traditional naming ceremony also allows the elders to speak into the babies’ minds that hardwork is what they have to do and that they must not engage in lies, as well as be observant and speak only when it matters.

He, therefore, advised Ga-Dangme descendants to name their children traditionally on the eighth day and then go for the church baptism when the churches were ready, as there was the need to preserve their identity irrespective of the religion they belong.

‘People are born into families before joining religious organisations,’ Mr Narteh emphasised.

Source: Ghana News Agency