Friday, 8 March 2019

What's in a name?

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My nephew's first name is Sir Garnet. A black African boy born to Ghanaian parents living in Ghana, West Africa. Why?

My grandmother's grandfather, Chief Kweku Andoh was one of the few educated elders in Elmina during the 1800s. He was the Chief of Elmina's foremost advisor at the time the British took over the then Gold Coast colony from the Dutch. On the Chief's expulsion from the country by the British, Chief Andoh was appointed regent in his place. He became firm friends with the British, whom he believed were more trustworthy than the Dutch, and became a lieutenant in the army. He developed a  friendship with Sir Garnet Wolseley, British governor in the Gold Coast, and major troubleshooter for the British empire.

 It is to our endless mortification, that my great, great grandfather joined Wolseley in his punitive expedition against the great empire of Ashanti. It was on this expedition that news arrived of his son's birth. Wolseley, grateful for the support of Chief Andoh, requested that his newborn son be named after him. Chief Andoh was happy to comply. Since traditionally names are passed down from father to son, the name 'Sir Garnet' has remained in my family to this day.

Strangely, our present day 'Sir Gee' as we call him, is as militant as they come....starkly different from his significantly more amenable siblings. What's in a name, I say?


  1. Thanks for sharing the history, the story of his name. It is interesting how Sir Gee has traits of the original Sir Garnet.

  2. Such a rich, deeply historical naming story! For more interesting than most I know. How old is your nephew? Has his name been a source of pride, or a problem for him, I wonder?