The Births and Deaths Registry of Ghana encouraged people to use indigenous names, but is still adamant on the use of those which it says are just titles.
There have been a lot of complaints from people who say that whenever they try to add traditional titles like Nana, Torgbui, Nii, Maame, etc. to the names of their children, the Registry said that it was not permissible by law.
Adults who were using those names had to swear affidavits at the Commissioner of Oaths to have them changed.
“My sister-in-law was told that the name given to her wasn’t a name but a title, and so she couldn’t register that name. You sit and plan to give a name to your child, and someone who is supposed to just put the name on paper claims that it is a title. It’s really embarrassing,” one of such people told Citi News.
“I had a friend who went to get a new passport, but was told that he couldn’t use ‘Junior’ in his name. They forced him to drop it and he had to sign an affidavit; he was really angry,” another said.
The Registrar of Births and Deaths, Rev Kingsley Asare Addo, has however insisted that these titles are not permitted globally.
“In the global civil registration regime, titles are not factored into registration. People’s names are recorded officially so we de-link titles. When you come and want to name your child ‘Junior,’ remember that the child has a different identity,” he said in an interview with Citi News’ Caleb Kudah.
On the issue of this move stopping people from using local names, Rev Asare Addo stated that, “We would encourage the use of our indigenous names because we realize that we are losing out on our typical indigenous names. People come and they want to use Christian and Muslim names. We don’t prescribe names for anyone, but we are saying that no one should convert titles and assume that they are names. These days, people come and say that their child’s name is Maame, but we all know that Maame is used to describe a woman of a certain status.”
By: Jeffrey Owuraku Sarpong/citifmonline.com/Ghana