My vreugdes en frustrasies


#SoCS Fortune has followed in my footsteps since birth

two babies wearing red mickey mouse shirts

Photo by Edwin Ariel Valladares on

Fortune has always favoured me, from the hour of my birth, our birth, when I opened my eyes to this cruel world and found Fortune sucking my thumb.

Following the tradition of our ancestors, my parents gave their children symbolic names in the (mistaken) belief that in adulthood they would live up to the definition of the very names they have been blessed with at birth. Our various cousins are named:

  • Beauty – a rather plain girl with a permanent scowl, dispelling with the notion that “beauty shines from within”
  • Professor – a football player who has never shown any propensity for book learning
  • Prudence – born without common sense, but she suffers the consequences of her impulsive decisions with a delightful grin
  • Joy – a melancholy girl who thrives on the misery and despair that surrounds her 

Fortune is the name of my twin brother. I am his favourite sister. His only sister. Therefore, he favours me. Even in adulthood, only I can soothe him when he is down in the dumps, my home is his safe haven, my kitchen his favourite eatery and he still sucks my thumb while watching television with my family. My parents should have named him Nuisance.

My name? Mercy. Do I live up to it? Judge for yourself.

Have you ever noticed how some people just do not fit into the fold of their given names?

Jokes aside, various ethnic groups in South Africa traditionally name their children to express their pride and joy in the birth of a welcome new addition to the family (English translations): Magnificent, Innocent, Gift, Promise, Precious, Helper, Kindness, Wish, Happiness. How splendid is that?

Linda said: Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “fortune.” Use it any way you’d like. Enjoy!

To see the rules for this weekly challenge and all the entries for Saturday 12 February 2022, visit Linda G Hill our gracious host for these challenges, where you will also find links to blogs added by other participants.

To see all my SoCS entries on this website, follow this link.

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  1. Long time ago I sorted the meaning of my name.
    In full: Robbert-Jan.

    Glad my parents just liked the name and did not know the meaning ….

    Kind regards,

    • Comment by post author


      It is a very elegant name. If I were you, I would insist that people use my full name when addressing me 😊 Afrikaans-speaking people tend to name their children after their ancestors. I inherited my name from my mother, who was named for her mother. This name has been passed on through seven generations that I could track.

  2. My grandfather and my father gave me the Jan-part in my name.
    Although my parents denied a family tradition.

    They use Rob for short. And that is what I do.

    Kind regards,

  3. I enjoy knowing name-meanings. My children Ellen (Light) and Andrew (Manly) each have lived up to theirs. Your post was tremendously interesting!

  4. Ag daardie foto is kostelik!

    • Comment by post author


      Is dit nie? Ek het toevallig op die foto afgekom toe ek die blog klaar geskryf het en onmiddellik geweet – dis die een!

  5. Hi Hester, nice to meet a fellow South African. I met a lady called Fortunate today.

  6. Names can be a burden. Nonetheless, I recall a miner called Dirt-bokkies because he was born in a rubbish bin and my father employed Boiling Water as a tractor driver on his farm – his name originated from an incident relating to his birth.

    • Comment by post author


      Imagine going through life with those names! It is almost as bad as some of the newfangled names that celebrities are saddling their babies with.

  7. I read somewhere about native people of Australia, but it could be Africa, where they get to pick their own name once they reach a certain age. Seems like a good idea. But then again, it could be like getting a tatoo when you’re 20. I still think my name would start with a J.

    • Comment by post author


      Oh my word, I would not trust a teenager to pick their own name. Name giving is a serious business in some countries.

  8. Mercy, you make smile….

  9. I’ve seen names that mean “Enough” and “Enough Girls” in Xhosa.

    My collection of names are here:

    • Comment by post author


      How on earth did you come up with those lists? I just started on the Sill(y)ebrities list and already I’m laughing out loud. I’ll pass this on to all grandmothers of my age who also want a say in the naming of their grandchildren.

      • Versamel oor baie jare – hoofsaaklik uit Die Burger se sterfberigte! Asook uit name in matriekuitslae.

  10. I’m also old fashioned, named after mother, grand mother, grand grand mother. Today I’m the last one with the traditional heritage names. Sad, but what can you do? Nothing. The names given by some ethnic groups out of love and pride is very special.

    • Comment by post author


      i am also the last one in the 7 generation “Hester Helena” line of family names. I never really liked my name when I was younger, but somehow I started to appreciate the sentiment as I grew older.

      • Same here. Ek lag natuurlik in my mou elke keer as ek my volle name gee hier. Gezina is ‘n naam wat hul nie kan uitspreek nie. Selfs Ineke is moeilik vir hul.

        • Comment by post author


          Iets wat ek baie teëkom hier is dat ek by staatinstansies (lisensiekantore, kliniek, ens.) aangespreek word as Helena. Dis natuurlik die etniese voorbeeld wat hier gevolg word – Afrikaans- en Engelsprekendes gebruik hulle eerste naam, dus moet ek Hester genoem word. Ek antwoord maar sommer op albei. Ek lag altyd vir Karen se verleentheid, want sy het net een naam – very confusing vir die ampsdraers.

        • Gloed goed van die enkel naam. Dis ook vir ouens hier makliker om Ineke te gebruik. Die G en z konfus hul lekker as hul dit probeer sê. Eks natuurlik ook moedswillig en spreek dit in Afrikaans uit en dan kyk hul ook maar skeef op . Is egter lekker as n Afrikaanse persoon my skielik help.

  11. Kostelik. Ek het ook ernstige familie name, wat net gebruik is as ek in die moeilikheid was. Ek het ‘n swetrjoel byname en antwoord dus ook omtrent op elke naam wat na my kant toe kom

    • Comment by post author


      O nee, ek is nie een vir byname nie. Namakwalanders is mos seriously serious oor byname, maar ek het gelukkig net Hester gebly. My ma en ouma, albei ook Hester, is onderskeidelik Hettie en Hessie genoem.