6 Political Figures Who Abandoned Their ‘Christian Names’

| September 21, 2016 | 1 Comment

miguna_0What’s in a name? For Shakespeare, there is little or nothing in a name – “that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet”.

But in politics, a name is a destiny, a brand, and a confirmation of an ideological stand.

This is especially so for Africans who had an interaction with colonialism where having an English Christian name was mandatory.

Africans who became politically aware would soon turn away from these names as can be seen in Kenya’s founding fathers Jomo Kenyatta (Johnstone Kamau) and  Oginga Odinga (Obadiah Adonijah).

Even after independence, the preference for African names has not been abandoned.

Here are 5 prominent people you didn’t know had anglo names:

1. Joshua Miguna Miguna

Those who have not read Miguna’s book will be surprised to know that the man was previously known as Joshua Miguna Miguna.

In 1997, Miguna legally abandoned Joshua and is simply referred to Miguna Miguna.

2. Prof Abraham Kithure Kindiki

Born in 1973 to a Methodist Cleric, Kindiki is the Senator for Tharaka Nithi county.

3. Vincent Kiraitu Murungi

Born in 1952, the Meru Senator is one of Kenya’s longest serving legislators having been an MP for more than 20 years.

4. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o

Born James Ngugi in Limuru, this internationally acclaimed writer has spent his life fighting for the pride of African heritage.

It is not a wonder that he decided to drop the name James in the 1960s when his career was picking up.

5. Godfrey Mutahi Ngunyi

He is not a politician but he is a prominent figure in Kenyan politics.

Read how he narrates the source of his name, “when I was young, my mother got me baptised. She called me Godfrey. I got this name because she had post-natal depression. She was only 27 and I was her seventh child….To punish me, therefore, she called me Godfrey! A bad English name. Whenever she gave me this story, she laughed and teased. I knew she was joking.

6. Kabando wa Kabando

The Mukurweini MP was born Godfrey Mwangi Kariuki before he changed his name in 2000.

Here, he explains his change of name: “I had been given my maternal grandfather’s name, but I wanted to emphasise Kabando, my paternal grandfather’s name”.




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  1. Kabugi says:

    This article pushes a popular misconception that our a Christian identity is only complete when we replace our African names with Hebrew/European derived names. Where does scripture mandate that we change our African names when we come to know Christ? More than 50 years after the colonists gave us back the keys to the house, and after sitting in tons of Sunday services, Bible study and Keshas, we are still a very confused lot…

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