What do others know of naming customs? Curious here.
In Zulu/Xhosa traditions, a child will be named by the paternal grandfather, with no input from the parents. Names aren't really just words like "Katherine" or "Emily", they are words with direct meanings (like Chastity or Mercy). The child can be named along a number of different themes including:
- named after famous people (e.g. Nelson Mandela was named after Lord Nelson, Kaiser for Kaiser Wilhelm is another common one.)
- named after aspirations of what they want the child to become (e.g. Doctor Kumalo, and I've worked with a Sheriff)
- named after the character they want the child to have (e.g. Nhlanhla means lucky, Dumisile means praised)
- named after something happening around the time of the child's birth (so if you have a lot of children, you might name the new baby Anele, which means enough. Or if you want more, you might name the child Andile which means to multiply. If a child is born in a difficult time in the family's life, they might name it Ayanda meaning the family are arguing)
- named in response to the birth of the child (e.g. Bongiwe meaning we are grateful, Dumazile meaning she disappoints).
There's a nice long list of names with meanings here to give you some idea of the diversity:http://namesforafrica.wordpress.com/zulu-girl-names/
Imagine going through life named "Disappointment" or "FamilyArgument".