Naming Things in Ghana

One Ghanaian quirk that I’ve come across everywhere is the religious (Christian) naming of many businesses. The names are usually totally unrelated to the business itself, and often quite amusing when taken with what the shops actually sell (at least to my foreign eyes). I’ve been keeping a list of some of my favourites: 

 

  • God is God Fashion
  • Jesus Never Fails Hair Salon
  • Pray Without Ceasing Mini-Mart
  • They Go Shame Spot (keep in mind that a “spot” is a bar, which makes this one even more amusing)
  • Father Forgive Them Chemical Store
  • Sweet Jesus Supreme Hair Clinic (Hm, would that be Sweet Jesus Supreme? Or a Supreme Hair Clinic? I couldn’t tell). 
  • Righteous Metal Works
  • Jehovah is My Friend Food Shop
  • Christ My Saviour Fashion Design
  • With God All Things Are Possible Jewellery
  • Jesus Over Do Metal and Aluminum (Jesus over do what?) 
  • Migthy [sic] Jesus Cement and Building Supply

 ImageBeyond religious names, it must be kind of hip to name your business after faraway places. Whether or not you are entirely familiar with things like how those places are spelled, that is. In Adidome town, there is the Califonia Spot and the Holywood Night Club (an outdoor club surrounded only by a brightly painted wooden fence, though currently defunct and full of baby goats). And I saw the “Norway” Drinks Shop in Accra. Yes, the quotation marks were part of the name. 

The names of the people I’ve met are also different from back home. The women’s names mostly seem to fall into three broad categories:  

1) Traditional Ghanaian Names – I won’t attempt typing these, because, well, I’m not really sure which ones are traditional and Ghanaian, which are regional or tribe-based, . . etc., etc., etc. 

2) Old-Fashioned English Names (that at home, might belong to your grandmother). I was surprised how many vibrant and often young women I’ve met named things like Agatha, Vera, Margaret, Gladys, and Millicent. But perhaps it all ties into the fact that Ghana got their independence from Britain in the 1950’s. . .

3) Vaguely (or Overtly) Religious English Word Names – like Comfort, Rejoice, Favour, Bless, Peace, and Grace.

 

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