A story about Colonial Africa – 2000 words
Copyright © 2011 Claude Lambert
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for Dr Omoigui
The hero of my story was born in Benin City; in a country we now call Nigeria. It is way south, much more south than Miami, almost at the Equator and way, way across the Atlantic Ocean, in Africa. When he was born, the family elders held a meeting and discussed how he should be named, according to what was on their mind. Part of the family wanted him to be named "It has not rained this season" and another part wanted his name to be "Evil runs amongst men," because there was war and there was little crop, and everybody felt terrible. But his mother thought that these names were awful, and wanted something nicer. In the end, they decided to call him Edo, and that is what he was, a member of the Edo group, talking the Edo language and living in Edo country.
In Benin City though, one waits for the baby shower to announce the name of a child. Then, the mother teases her friends by inventing all kinds of ridiculous names for the child:
"We are going to call him Palm Tree in the Sky"
"This is not a good name", her friends would say, "Who ever heard of somebody called Palm Tree?"
"Well then, we are going to call him Eye of the Moon"
"O frankly, what is it with you: it is not a name for a little boy"