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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Shifts and continuities in Zulu personal naming practices : original research

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Abstract

It is widely accepted that, in all societies, personal naming practices and culture are intertwined. Given that culture is not static, but dynamic and ever changing, personal names have undergone a major transformation due to socio-cultural and political factors. This article reflects on shifts and continuities in the practice of personal naming amongst the Zulu people. Emerging data demonstrate the evolution from pre-colonial Africa to the post-1994 period in South Africa. It is further illustrated that the reclaiming of indigenous names in the new democratic dispensation is perceived as a way for Africans to re-define and re-affirm their identities, thus de-stigmatising their culture. Ultimately, this article makes a strong argument that personal naming, in any society, is not detached from the socio-cultural environment. Rather, personal naming and culture are inextricably linked to socio-political conditions at any historical moment. This is demonstrated in the shift from personal naming practices greatly inspired by communal values to those steeped in contradictions within the epoch of neo-liberal capitalism. It is, therefore, concluded that shifts in people's consciousness lead to fundamental shifts in personal naming practices.


In alle gemeenskappe word dit aanvaar dat persoonlike naamgewingspraktyke en kultuur met mekaar vervleg is. Aangesien kultuur nie staties is nie, maar dinamies en voortdurend aan die verander, het persoonsname groot verandering ondergaan as gevolg van van sosio-kulturele en politieke faktore. Hierdie artikel besin die verandering en kontinuïteit in die praktyk van persoonsnaamgewing onder die Zoeloes. Nuwe data toon die ontwikkeling vanaf prekoloniale Afrika tot die post-1994 periode in Suid-Afrika. Dit toon ook dat die terugwinning van inheemse name in die nuwe demokratiese bedeling beskou moet word as 'n wyse waarop Afrikane hulle identiteit herdefinieer en herbevestig; dus 'n destigmatisering van hulle kultuur. Hierdie artikel neem sterk standpunt in dat persoonsnaamgewing in enige gemeenskap nie van die sosio-kulturele omgewing losgemaak kan word nie. Persoonsnaamgewing en kultuur is veeleer onlosmaaklik aan die sosio-politieke gegewenheid van 'n spesifieke historiese tydperk verbonde. Hierdie feit word gedemonstreer deur die verskuiwing van persoonsnaamgewingspraktyke wat grootliks deur gemeenskapswaardes geïnspireer was, na dié wat deurspek is met teenstrydighede van die tydperk van neoliberalistiese kapitalisme. Die gevolgtrekking word gemaak dat verskuiwings in mense se georiënteerdheid tot fundamentele verskuiwings in persoonsnaamgewingspraktyke lei.

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/content/literat/34/1/EJC141161
2013-01-01
2016-12-08
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