Tag Archives: Ibos

Are Yoruba names “bisexual”?

Maybe not an appropriate title but well, you get the gist…. By “bisexual” here I mean the opposite of unisexual (of or relating to only one sex). So I don’t get crucified.¬†

Yorubas naming convention has gone “gaga”.¬†There is really no name for just male children or female children anymore. Most names have become “BISEXUAL”. Both males and females bear it.

I remember one of popsie’s trip many years ago. He comes back with gifts from a friend of his (who by the way had never met any of us; he just knew us by names and he had been in the States for so long). I think I was in Secondary School then. Now, we are four girls so little wonder my surprise when popsie brings out two male watches for my elder sister and I and lovely knapsacks for my younger sisters. I was seething. I just couldn’t believe that someone would buy me such. I remember asking popsie if the watch was really for me and he said yes and I just couldn’t figure out how the man would think I was a guy.


Like I said, I come from an all girl family. And growing up, I believed my names (at least my first and other names were feminine) and I was the only one that went by those names. Yes. That’s what I believed. Funny enough, all through Primary School, I never had another person go by my first and other names; well till Secondary School where just one other girl used my other name as her first name. Yes. She stole my name. So I guess I wasn’t wrong to assume my names were female names.

Fast forward.

First year Under grad. During Orientation. A female friend introduces me to a male friend and the guy goes “when she told him she had a friend who was called *******, I thought it was a guy”. And am like seriously? Are you daft? How would you think I was a guy? Well, I said all that to myself. School fully resumes and I discover that like six other guys went by my first name and we were like just two girls who used that as our first names. Then it clicked that the reason the man bought the watches was cause he heard our names and assumed the first two were guys (my elder sister’s name is pretty masculine) and assumed the other two were females. He concluded based on our names. I also discovered that it was other variants of my first name that females tend to bear. *rme*. Same for my other name; three females and like a zillion guys… *rme* again. Went back home, fortunately mumsie kept the watches, I got the battery changed and wore my watch proudly… Till it died. It was a mega big watch tho.

Till date, I still get mails (replies, new mails), text messages and all from people who see my name and address me as Dear Sir, or Mr. ******* e.t.c. I am so tired of correcting them and educating them. If you aint sure what sex the person is be on the safe side and just say Dear (the person’s name). I really can’t blame them. Names used to be very distinct in times past. Names like Femi, Gbenga, Tunde e.t.c. were strictly male names. Now females bear such. Names like Bukola, Bimbo were female names. Now we have men that go by such names. You hear a name and you just can’t figure out if the person is male or female. For names such as mine and the Femis, it could be assumed that it is a guy. What would you say about names like Ife, Seun, Tope, Tosin, Tayo? You just can’t be sure. I would be scared though if I see a guy called Wura. Or a girl called Biyi.

I don’t know much about Ibos but I def haven’t seen a girl called Nnameka or Ndubisi. Or a guy called Ifeoma or Ngozi. Neither have I seen a girl by the name Adamu. Or a guy by the name Fatima. I am sure I would just faint. It is just like seeing a girl called Alan or Ken. Or a guy called Sharon… That’s gangsta.

Can Yorubas just return to the days when names were very distinct?

That said, is it safe to assume Yoruba names are bisexual? And I can call my daughter Muyiwa or Akin? My son, Doyin or Wonu?