My vreugdes en frustrasies


#SoCS We call her Gugu because she will be precious

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Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “precious.” Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!

To see the rules for this weekly challenge and all the entries for Saturday 13 October 2018, visit Linda G Hill.

“We call her Gugu because she will be precious”, the proud mother told me when I admired her newborn girl. The Zulu nation of South Africa follows the tradition of naming their babies to reflect the family’s expectations for the child, or their religious / political beliefs. Sometimes the names tell the story of the weather conditions during the birth period or the family’s experiences in the community. Children can have more that one name bestowed by various members of the family.

Popular girls’ names are Thandeka (beloved), Mbali (flower), Nandi (sweet), Lerato (love) and Gugulethu / Gugu (precious). Names commonly used for boys are Sipho (gift), Bongani (be thankful), Jubulani (rejoice) and Musa (kindness / mercy).

As a young child, I did not like my first name at all and asked my mother to change it to a more “modern” name although I knew that I was named for her and my grandmother, as was the tradition among white South Africans in those days. This led to situations where, in the bigger families like ours, there was more than one female in the family called Hester. In order to differentiate my grandmother was called Hessie, my mother answered to Hettie and I, thankfully, retained the full name.

It wasn’t until very late in my life when I started researching my genealogy and traced my full names back in an unbroken line through eight generations, that I realised just what an honour it was to carry the family names.

But still, you may call me Precious if you choose to do so.

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  1. #PreciousHester

  2. This is a lovely post, Hester. Great use of the prompt word. I like Naledi which means star.

    • Comment by post author


      Thank you Robbie. This is very exciting – Hester is a Persian name which means star. If I ever again get the urge to change my name, I will go for Naledi!

  3. Pragtig geskryf, Hester.

  4. Baie interessant Hester.

  5. So sweet! Precious Hester! Love it!

  6. What a lovely post.

  7. Hoe lekker glimlag ek nou vir jou. Dis so pragtig geskryf, Hester, en jy is vir baie van ons precious.

  8. Ja Precious! Nou het jy my weer lekker laat lag.

    Ek het al vir jou vertel dat my ma se naam Hester was… en sy het op ‘n dag my basvelle amper afgetrek… hoekom?? Sy het vir my gehoor praat met my neef… haar sister se seun. Ons het lekker na Hessie en Chrissie verwys! VOUT!! My ma het daai naam hehaat!

    Anyway… the second reason for a floor rolling moment… my good lady tells the story of doing switchboard duties during the operator’s lunchtime. Yes, when there were still such duties to do. Well, she was rather new at the company and one day a lady phoned in… asking to speak with Precious! My good lady was slightly taken aback… (immigrant… weet nie van hoe dinge gedoen word nie…) so, thinking it was a prank, she asked the caller… “Precious who?” The indignant answer came straight back… “Precious Dick, that’s who!”
    Needless to say, my good lady learned all about naming traditions very quickly! Yes, we still talk about Precious Dick to this day…

  9. Daardie familie name tog. Ek het nie familie name nie, my kinders ook nie.

  10. Eight generations now that’s impressive! Hester yourself and Meryl Streep have something very much in common, the tradition in her own family is that a first born daughter is always named ‘Mary’..……… lol it’s amazing the trivial facts that seep into my consciousness!!

    • Comment by post author


      I have a theory that goes like this: I have so much useless information (trivial facts) in my head, no wonder I can’t remember where I left my car keys. 😀 It’s a good excuse anyway!