Okay, so I have an unusual name, which actually isn’t that unusual. It falls into one of the two very distinct Zimbabwean name categories:
- A dictionary name (Success, Register, Nomatter etc)
- An old English name (George, Elizabeth, Wilson etc)
I’ve had a tough life guys, I’m always looking up whenever somebody says “Nomatter”, introductions take at least 10 minutes because I have to convince people that my name really is Nomatter (I must admit though adding “It’s a Zimbabwean thing” takes 5 minutes of the introduction time). Over the phone Nomatter sounds like Samantha, after 30s of back on forth I usually settle for Samantha.
“Samantha?” “No, Nomatter” “Samantha??” (Deep sigh) “Yes. Samantha”. Then I have to remember that I am actually Samantha when that person calls back.
And finally,I don’t know how to spell Nomatter as a word? Is there a hypen? Just a space? There’s isn’t a space in my name.
Flashback, to my first day of High school. There was this girl that I introduced myself too, after about ten minutes of convincing, she looked at me puzzled and laughed my response off. She came back to me a little while later with her crew and said “Hey, you didn’t tell me what your name is”
I mean seriously?? I stood there for ten minutes saying “My name is Nomatter”
My biggest gripe with my mother has always been, why Nomatter of all the names in this world, why would you choose Nomatter?
I would spend hours ranting to my grandmother about my “stupid” name and googling names that I thought were more suitable. I’ve gone from Sydeny, to Lihle to Mattie. But always, always back to Nomatter. And every day, my grandmother never tired of telling me that Nomatter was the name in my mother’s heart.
When I meet new people it’s always, “Is that your real name” then “What does it mean?” And finally we come to “How did you get that name?”
So far I have shared the story sparingly, holding out for my tell-all autobiography when I become famous. However currently, as a struggling Journalist/blogger/dreamer I am reminded every so often that my good old friend fame may not be knocking on my door any time soon. So, what am I waiting for?
It was a dark and stormy night…
Okay not really.
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Aug 1991.
My mother had been very sick when she had me, her health had been steadily declining over time and when I came along, the doctors had told her that I she wasn’t going to be alive much longer. Her response: Nomatter.
Because in her heart, she believed that “Nomatter what, I would be alright, even if she couldn’t be with me”.
Two years later, my mother passed away and here I am 22 years later and I am alright. (Nomatter what)
So that’s the story.
As I’ve got older, introducing myself to people has become less of an anxiety and more of an inside joke. I tend to rehearse the introductions before they actually happen.
And often when the person I’m meeting doesn’t look at me in utter disbelief I feel a little empty inside, because then it’s just an anti climax. I almost want to say “Aren’t you going to ask me if I’m serious”
I’m a bit of a lunatic I guess, I’m ready to fire shots at people who don’t believe me when I say Nomatter, but I am also ready to fire shots at people who don’t question me. My friends, by association have also become ultra sensitive to my introductions, as soon as I say “my name is…” Were all in defense mode, watching, waiting…
A few months ago Khaya Dlanga, a South African [Insert whatever you know about Khaya Dlanga here] tweeted a picture of me with my name underneath it from our campus paper. The picture was accompanied by a tweet that read “What kind of name is this” and within 5 minutes, my name was paraded all over the twitteverse, with everybody having a good laugh.
I didn’t even know it was happening until one my friends called me and told me about it. I was devastated, It was so unkind and so unnecessary especially from a man who knows nothing about me, and that’s when I was reminded that some people will never get it
Despite the struggles though, I have learnt to love my name. Its more than just 8 letters strung together. Its 8 letters that tell the story of resilience and an undying love, it’s a story that most people (Cough cough Khaya Dlanga) will never fully understand. But its mine to keep and cherish every day.
So thanks Mom, you had it all worked out. You also totally could have named me alright, but you didn’t- Good looking out.
Now that I have established myself as a name guru, here’s some free advice: Give your kids names they can live up too. In fact why don’t you try naming your kids after an amazing struggling journalist/blogger/dreamer who wanted to change the world! Because those kind of names are very rare, kind of like Nomatter.
That’s N-O-M-A-Double T-E-R, One word, no space. Seriously.