BEAUTIFUL NYAKIO

For the longest time I have been Linda Kinyita. My Face book profile name reads as Linda N. Kinyita and few people know what the N. Stands for; Most of them my primary school classmates and my closest family members. Growing up I never had any attachment to my middle name and on several occasions it was a cause of trifle between my mum and I because once in a while I would ask,  “mum, why  is my name Njoki and not Wanjiru?” and as I grew up I just stopped asking and I distanced myself from my ethnic name. I used my Christian name and surname. See where I come from we have a specific naming system, First born genders (boy,girl) are named after the dad’s parents and then the second born genders after the mother’s parents. In case the father refuses to take responsibility then the mother names her firstborn after her parents and when she gets married the child will carry her husband’s name. In kikuyu land kids belong to their mother and once you marry a woman who has children then as a man you become officially her kids’ father.

When my mum got married I was old enough to know i was getting a new dad but a bit young to retain any most of my memories from my earlier life and as I grew older and went to school and know I started understanding the concept of naming I stated asking questions about my name. The first one was easy. Linda. As a pupil my mum had a teacher who had a daughter named Linda and she fell in love with the name and vowed that her first born daughter would be named Linda and here I am. My ethnic name Njoki brought with it a whole kizungu mkuti because I knew my dad wasn’t my biological dad and by now my mum had had another daughter who they named after my dad’s mother Wairimu. My mum’s mum name was Wanjiru and in the real traditional sense if my mother had not been married I was supposed to be named Wanjiru and that is where I questioned. At the beginning my mother was like “ You know back at home we have lots of Wanjirus and it becomes confusing when we are all there so I decided to name you differently.” Of coarse I never bought it but at that point there was nothing I could do about it and it was clear every time I brought up the issue with my name it upset my mum.

One of the things that stuck in my mind from my childhood was a name my mum used to call me when I was a toddler, Nyakio, which translates to “The hard working one.” As I grew up she dropped it and it faded and settled in the back of my mind until I came across this children books in primary school, Beautiful Nyakio, from the moment I saw the title of that book I knew I loved it even with ought reading it. It triggered my memories of my mother calling me Nyakio. It also triggered another name ,Nyawira, which has the same meaning as Nyakio. I read that story book as if it was written for me, beautiful Nyakio. I read lots of books and story books in my life but beautiful Nyakio stuck in my head just because of it’s title. I remember early on in face book while boys asked me what the N. In my name stood for I would comfortably type back Nyakio.
Questions about my identity is one of those thing that lead me into the world of art and expression through words and I remember consciously branding myself as Linda Kinyita  and completely omitting the N because as a grownup I could no longer live in the fantasy world of Nyakio.  When it comes to Linda Kinyita, she has or had her shit figured out until recently( story for another day). I remember when I got married one of the things I had to figure out my brand name. I had done quite a good job of establishing my name as brand which I am still growing and the possibility of changing it was quite scarring and that was a decision we decided to shelve until when it is totaly necessary.

When I became a mother and watching the interaction between my kids and their grandparents the issue with my ethnic name arouse. My husband’s ethnic group do not have the same naming system but we went with mine so our twin girl we named her after my husband’s mum and I still remember her joy when we did it and for the boy we named him after her late husband. Our second daughter we named her after my mother, Wairimu, and if you want to mess around with my mother just do something to Nimmo and you will be in trouble. My mother was raised an orphan and and even if my dad’s mother was around there has always been that distance maybe only I can feel or explain So I can say that I do not have the 100% grandmother experience. Watching my kids with their grandmother got me wondering who was there dotting on me, fussing all round me, was there someone who rejoiced because she had been “born’?  Who did they say infant, toddler Linda looked like? Unfortunately I did not have anyone I could ask all this questions, at this point I properly understood life and I did not want to and into my mother’s trouble. If the day came and she felt comfortable to share that part of our world with me then it will and life has a way of working out this things. And it did.

Let me cut this long story short for now and I will come back with the longer version later. I no longer have issues with my identity because that question was answered and I now know or have an idea of exactly who infant Linda looked like. Now where I was “Born” and where my mother comes from although same ethnic group they have a different naming system.  So babies are named after the characteristics of the one they are named after. Do I make any sense? For example the lady I am named after is called Njoki, Njoki was and still is an extra extra hard working woman and a hard working woman in kikuyu is described as, mundu wii kio, Nyakio or Nyawira. So according to their naming culture I was supposed to be named either Nyakio or Nyawira but my mother had already registered me as Njoki. The lady questioned why they did name me Njoki  and my mum was like, “do not worry all the name are hers. Linda Njoki NYakio Nyawira….”

For the longest time I have been Linda Kinyita. My Face book profile name reads as Linda N. Kinyita and few people know what the N. Stands for; Most of them my primary school classmates and my closest family members. Growing up I never had any attachment to my middle name and on several occasions it was a cause of trifle between my mum and I because once in a while I would ask,  “mum, why  is my name Njoki and not Wanjiru?” and as I grew up I just stopped asking and I distanced myself from my ethnic name. I used my Christian name and surname. See where I come from we have a specific naming system, First born genders (boy,girl) are named after the dad’s parents and then the second born genders after the mother’s parents. In case the father refuses to take responsibility then the mother names her firstborn after her parents and when she gets married the child will carry her husband’s name. In kikuyu land kids belong to their mother and once you marry a woman who has children then as a man you become officially her kids’ father.

When my mum got married I was old enough to know i was getting a new dad but a bit young to retain any most of my memories from my earlier life and as I grew older and went to school and know I started understanding the concept of naming I stated asking questions about my name. The first one was easy. Linda. As a pupil my mum had a teacher who had a daughter named Linda and she fell in love with the name and vowed that her first born daughter would be named Linda and here I am. My ethnic name Njoki brought with it a whole kizungu mkuti because I knew my dad wasn’t my biological dad and by now my mum had had another daughter who they named after my dad’s mother Wairimu. My mum’s mum name was Wanjiru and in the real traditional sense if my mother had not been married I was supposed to be named Wanjiru and that is where I questioned. At the beginning my mother was like “ You know back at home we have lots of Wanjirus and it becomes confusing when we are all there so I decided to name you differently.” Of coarse I never bought it but at that point there was nothing I could do about it and it was clear everytime I brought up the issue with my name it upset my mum.

One of the things that stuck in my mind from my childhood was a name my mum used to call me when I was a toddler, Nyakio, which translates to “The hard working one.” As I grew up she dropped it and it faded and settled in the back of my mind until I came across this children books in primary school, Beautiful Nyakio, from the moment I saw the title of that book I knew I loved it even with ought reading it. It triggered my memories of my mother calling me Nyakio. It also triggered another name ,Nyawira, which has the same meaning as Nyakio. I read that story book as if it was written for me, beautiful Nyakio. I read lots of books and story books in my life but beautiful Nyakio stuck in my head just because of it’s title. I remember early on in face book while boys asked me what the N. In my name stood for I would comfortably type back Nyakio.
Questions about my identity is one of those thing that lead me into the world of art and expression through words and I remember consciously branding myself as Linda Kinyita  and completely omitting the N because as a grownup I could no longer live in the fantasy world of Nyakio.  When it comes to Linda Kinyita, she has or had her shit figured out until recently( story for another day). I remember when I got married one of the things I had to figure out my brand name. I had done quite a good job of establishing my name as brand which I am still growing and the possibility of changing it was quite scarring and that was a decision we decided to shelve until when it is totaly necessary.

When I became a mother and watching the interaction between my kids and their grandparents the issue with my ethnic name arouse. My husband’s ethnic group do not have the same naming system but we went with mine so our twin girl we named her after my husband’s mum and I still remember her joy when we did it and for the boy we named him after her late husband. Our second daughter we named her after my mother, Wairimu, and if you want to mess around with my mother just do something to Nimmo and you will be in trouble. My mother was raised an orphan and and even if my dad’s mother was around there has always been that distance maybe only I can feel or explain So I can say that I do not have the 100% grandmother experience. Watching my kids with their grandmother got me wondering who was there dotting on me, fussing all round me, was there someone who rejoiced because she had been “born’?  Who did they say infant, toddler Linda looked like? Unfortunately I did not have anyone I could ask all this questions, at this point I properly understood life and I did not want to and into my mother’s trouble. If the day came and she felt comfortable to share that part of our world with me then it will and life has a way of working out this things. And it did.

Let me cut this long story short for now and I will come back with the longer version later. I no longer have issues with my identity because that question was answered and I now know or have an idea of exactly who infant Linda looked like. Now where I was “Born” and where my mother comes from although same ethnic group they have a different naming system.  So babies are named after the characteristics of the one they are named after. Do I make any sense? For example the lady I am named after is called Njoki, Njoki was and still is an extra extra hard working woman and a hard working woman in kikuyu is described as, mundu wii kio, Nyakio or Nyawira. So according to their naming culture I was supposed to be named either Nyakio or Nyawira but my mother had already registered me as Njoki. The lady questioned why they did name me Njoki  and my mum was like, “do not worry all the name are hers. Linda Njoki NYakio Nyawira….”

Beautiful Nyakio, I think I always knew who I was but circumstances and life had me bury a part of me in the darkness but that part always yearned to be set free into the light. One day at a time.

Beautiful Nyakio, I think I always knew who I was but circumstances and life had me bury a part of me in the darkness but that part always yearned to be set free into the light. One day at a time.