The ‘ABC’s of Xhosa Names’, A Series of Illustrated GIFs by Thandiwe Tshabalala

The “ABC’s of Xhosa Names” by Thandiwe Tshabalala (1)


South African Illustrator Thandiwe Tshabalala has created a series of GIFs which celebrate the beautiful and unusual names in her mother tongue of Xhosa.


The vibrant GIFs take us through the ‘ABC’s of Xhosa Names’ such as Gcobani, Yonela and Sikelela, and they give us some insight into their meanings.


Of the inspiration behind the series, Thandiwe says the following:


Way back, when apartheid was taking place in South Africa, parents used to give their kids English names so that white people wouldn’t have to struggle pronouncing African names. Most people born during the times of apartheid were given names like: Knowledge, Margaret, Mavis (which has negative connotations), Innocentia, Innocent, Jeffrey, Gloria…eek…Let me just stop there. However, when black folks got their ‘freedom’ back, they went back to naming their children African/South African names.


More by Thandiwe:



Found via Dynamic Africa.


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