Transliteration Gone Wrong – How He Got His Nickname

August 11, 2022
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The holiday period that year in Junior Secondary was lit. We had the greatest fun; wake up on a Monday morning & no School? – Pure Heaven! I know you still get that feeling on Public Holidays & when you are on Vacation. So on this day, we were heading home from one of our aimless roaming around the neighborhood when we heard a commotion coming from the Bus stop close to the Family Compound. We wouldn’t miss some action for anything so we rushed there.

When we got close enough we saw that a townsman held the Conductor of the Bus he just alighted from and everyone present was screaming at the top of their voices. After a while, we were able to make out what caused the fracas. The townsman refused to pay the conductor unless he was sure the young man would give him the correct balance or as we call it Change. He had entered the Bus claiming he had the correct fare, and then from nowhere he brandished a higher denomination and asked for the balance 1st. The man did not want any ‘marriage by change’ at the Bus Stop.

Being illiterate my townsman found it difficult to explain what happened. What angered him the most was that the Conductor had torn his shirt in the scuffle. He kept shouting ‘He broke my shirt. He broke my shirt’. We all burst into laughter. Chai, break shirt? That is a new height of destruction. Instead of the expected fracas, it was comic relief and since then we nicknamed him: He broke my shirt or broken shirt.

Everyone has got a nickname. I have not seen anyone without one. Some we address them openly, they like it, perhaps they chose it or it glorifies their genius or notoriety or they are resigned to it. Other AKAs are secret code names, they are said in whispers. The bearer may be a person in power, who wan annoy Oga? Perhaps too, we don’t want the Crocodile to know we are talking of him, even when he is there. Lol. Do you recall how the people around you got their nicknames? How did you get yours? Do you like it? I wear mine as a badge. Lol.

Postscript: A nickname as explained above is any name given or that we give ourselves in addition to our official name. One big question we ought to ask ourselves is: what (nick)name am I making in my neighborhood, at work, among friends and most importantly, what name am I making with God? One spirit person who made a very bad name with God is not even recognized by his official name in the Bible. May we not be like that.