A light-hearted note but I sincerely hope that something in it resonates with you. 🧡
I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Funmi’s writing last week here on ExcellerBlog. It literally felt like she was taking us all on a walk down a street in her mind’s kingdom, slowly but surely feeding us with her thought-process. Did you somehow miss last week’s post (History – The Perfect Teacher)? You can read it here.
As I reflected on the core message of that post, two names in the Igbo language jumped out of my memory and clung to my mind. 😃
The names are “Echezona“ and “Ozoemena”.
As you may know, African names have meanings. For African parents, naming your child is no mean task; it is often an opportunity to probably recall the circumstances of the child’s birth through the name he or she is given, or to express the parent’s state of mind, or the goodwill that the parents hope to bestow on the child’s life.
Now, what do the names Echezona and Ozoemena mean? 😃
Echezona is the name that your parents christen you if you were born around a remarkable incidence, one which they always want to remember or to associate you with. Echezona literally means “Do not forget.”
For example, it is possible that just before you were delivered, your kindred recovered a piece of land that had almost been lost in a controversy. Or maybe someone severely offended your parents and they want to keep the offender in mind. (Hopefully not! 😜) Or perhaps, the royal crown finally got rotated back to your extended family at the time of your birth. Or something equally fantastic.
Echezona is what we must all tell our hearts every time lest it goes down the mud-hole of self-pity or despair. Because the heart forgets! The heart forgets God’s benefits. The heart is often ungrateful. It selectively prefers worry or anxiety, and I have no idea why!
That was why the psalmist challenged his own heart thus, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and do not forget all His benefits!” [Psalms 103:2] Bless the Lord oh my soul and echezona His benefits!
I was recently chatting with my husband about this and we were reflecting on how a thanksgiving journal is so helpful and often comes to the rescue in situations like this.
He shared with me how he deliberately makes a record of God’s goodness in his personal life, and brings them up during his prayer time or when he needs a memory juggle. What a precious tip, definitely worth emulating!
History teaches us some things we must echezona in order to stay the course of destiny.
History is empowering.Tweet
Ozoemena is the name that your parents christen you if you were born around the time that they experienced a loss or some misfortune. The direct meaning of the name is “May another of the kind not happen again.” It is your parents’ way of hoping/praying that your arrival will stop the streak of bad occurrences, and cause the good to stay.
May 30th every year is recognized by the Igbo people of Nigeria as the Biafra Day celebration. On that day, amongst the festivities, people remember all the heroes that were lost during the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War with the slogan for the Day as “Ozoemena.” Affirming ozoemena is both an expressed hope as well as a collective prayer that such bloodshed and loss of beloved lives will not occur again in the history of the Ibo people.
Ozoemena is like what you say when you have finally had it to your neck with that toxic association or work environment, and you finally walked out of the door for the last time. It’s like you are saying, “No can do! Not me, not ever again. Bye-bye to jati-jati. 🤣
History is powerful. To know it is to empower ourselves. It enables us to either say, “echezona” or “ozoemena” to every new experience.
NB: Congratulations to my non-Igbo-speaking readers! You have just learned two new Igbo sentences/phrases. 😉💛