I have made it my mission lately to call people by their real names, well, I am trying very very hard actually and it doesn’t seem to be working.
We live in Africa, and in this beautiful country of ours we don’t seem to be able to call people by their birth names.  I don’t know if its an Africa thing, or maybe, just maybe we can blame it on apartheid but people just don’t seem to go by their own names.
The other day I was introduced to a Gentleman, “Hi Tanya, I would like you to meet my friend Banana, Banana meet my friend Tanya”, now I am gobsmacked and I am wondering what went through Banana’s Moms head when she called her latest offering to mankind Banana.  Was she into fruit or maybe just Bananas, maybe its her favourite paint colour  – heck I cant work it out.
It seems like everyone has a birth name, then their “white” name and lastly – and most importantly their nickname.
Let me give you an example – I work with a lady that I have been calling Afro for the last 15 years.  When someone phones her they ask for Afrika, and in her ID book her name is listed as Nomu.
Another scenario, we have a daughter whose name was well thought out and debated and after months of discussion and Googling we decided on the name Francis Kendle Loots, mooi name, we often used to laugh that she would be Frans’s Francis from St Francis.  Anyway, to cut a long story short, she popped out, and when she got home Jamie takes one look and say’s “She looks like a rose bud”, and Rosie she became, no-one really knows her real name is Francis Kendle Loots.   So, she trundles off to a new school at the beginning of the year and she was terribly excited that at long last she was going to be called by her REAL name.  By the end of the first term we had come to terms that this wasn’t going to happen and everyone was calling her Rosie – which does not appear on any documentation at the school.  She comes home from School the other day, a tad upset, she had seen her class list and she was listed as Loots, Francis Kendle (M) – so, she is listed as Francis Kendle Loots (MALE) – it turns out that Frans in the excitement of registering his daughter not only misspelt her first name, but her second name as well, to the male spelling of both of her names.  BIG OOPS!
Jamie and his friends Reece and Luke have taken the name thing to a whole new level, they only have one name for all of them, and it is ………. wait for it …………. SOLOMON CRACKERS.  Picture the scene:
REECE – “Howzit Solomon Crackers?”, at the same time he is doing a sort of handpumping guesture that involves putting your hand straight out with a bunched fist, then at the elbox pointing the fist up to 90 degrees and then bumping each other with the forearm – I think this is the new handshake, (can’t really see Obama and David Cameron really taking to this one).
JAMIE – “Cool, Solomon Crackers”  Returning the guesture.
LUKE – “Hey, Solomon Crackers – do you want to go cycling?” – now  I really have to point out Luke is now talking to both of them (they do both pay attention) and any other potential SOLOMON CRACKERS that might be within ears reach.  I don’t know if its the “C” word that works or the “SC” words that grip their attention because 15 year old boys don’t seem to hear very much.
My dear Husbands name is Frans, but every now and then we will be walking in random places and a voice will shout “Hey Pietie”, he will stop, turn around and chat to a long lost pal – don’t even want to know where Pietie came from.
As childish as all this sounds I start thinking about my own group of friends, yip, you got it – we don’t even call each other by our given names we are Blondie, E’news, Shark Girl, Cake Boss, Sporty Spice and I am The Boss or Captain.
Anyway, back to my mission and back to Banana.
After being introduced I ask “And what is your real name?”
Banana gives me a very, very strange look, and answer “BANANA!”

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