My name is Nabuguzi Anne Marie Josephine. To cut the sentence of a name short, Nabuguzi Kiwanuka is befitting. My mother named me Nabuguzi. Kiwanuka is my father’s name and because he died before I was born, having his name sound in my ears is the only way I get to have an experience with him.
Anne Marie, was given to me by my mother’s former colleague before I was born. It was more like a bet between colleagues. If I came out with a pintle dangling between my thighs, my name would have been Stephen. Sr. Anne Marie chose her name, Sr. Donatus wanted me to have her brother’s name. I bet by now, you can tell who won.
Joseph. My mother’s second child deemed it wise to name me because our father had died and his 4-year-old brain suggested to him that there was no one else to name me. Mother granted his wish. He was overjoyed when the priest announced Josephine as one of my baptismal names.
My identity has suffered various hiccups.
When I was about 7, a teacher called me back, to rub two of my names, after I handed in my examination paper. Thank God I was a day scholar. I cried all the way until I got home. If my memory serves me right, mother took me back and I rewrote my name.
At about 8 I joined a different school, in a boarding section. Teachers still had trouble with my name. Every time my name was read, they wondered (loudly for the whole class to hear) if I would register them all for UNEB. The teachers’ ideal student identity only had to have two names to it.
What’s worse is that they had never seen Anne with an E. Damn that school!
Long story short, when I was filling my UNEB forms, a teacher made sure that she sat by my side and dictated that my name had to be Nabuguzi Anna. No one could come to my aid but then again, Anna wasn’t so foreign in my hearing because at home, they call me so. None of this reached my mother.
P.L.E results were returned and to my mother’s shock I was Nabuguzi Anna . She asked if I really didn’t know my name. I was tongue-tied at that moment. She explained that Nabuguzi Anna and Nabuguzi Anne Marie Josephine were different people, legally. O my world crumbled! I panicked. If I could turn back the time, I would have asked the teacher to eff off. It enraged me to imagine that someone could play with someone else’s child’s identity.
Mother worked hard to restore my identity. In my S.6, with the support of the school’s D.O.S and the acceptance of UNEB, we were successful.
Why am I offended when you call me Ann, Anna (especially if you are not family), Annet ( for pity’s sake, Annet?), Maria, Marry (you guys, in 2017, someone addressed me as Ann Marry)?
A name is said to be the greatest connection to one’s own identity and individuality. I regard it as the most sacred and expensive (emotionally and financially) word, and you shall only call me what is legally registered or what I tell you to call me.
Nabuguzi Kiwanuka is perfectly fine. It is my nom de guerre. It keeps me grounded. It reminds me of my roots.