Twelve Africans-Americans adopt Igbo names to celebrate 400 years of transatlantic slavery on Tuesday, October 1.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 12 had traced their ancestry to West Africa and that the Americans were christened local Igbo names at a ceremony on Nigeria’s 59th Independence Day in Abuja.
The event was organized by the Global Institute of Diversity and Change and the Igbo Community in Abuja. The naming rite was conducted by a traditional chief from the southeast. Some of the names for the Americans are Okechukwu, Ifunnaya, Adaeze, Ijeoma, Chukwuma, and Obinna. Others include Ikechukwu, Ugochukwu, Obioma, Onyemaechi, Chinwe, and Ozioma.
Dr Yewande Austin, President of Global Institute of Diversity and Change said the christening was an indication that African-Americans were proud of Africa as their historical ancestry home.
“This year marks the 400 years that the first Africans from the transatlantic slave trade arrived Virginia, and this event is to ignite our sense of connection with Africa. “It is very important to know that Africans worked tirelessly in building the United States, and we are very proud of that. “Hundreds of African-Americans see Virginia as their home, and there is an Igbo village in Virginia today,” she said.
Also, Prof Chinwe Obaji, a former minister of education and host of the naming ceremony, said the historic slavery migration was an indication that Africans paid huge prices in the development of America.
She added that the christening would make recipients of the names see Nigeria as their home and contribute towards its advancement.
“The United States and Nigeria have come a long way in working together, and this naming occasion is very significant because these Americans will see themselves as Nigerians. “As you can see, they are proud to identify with their ancestry home and this will inspire them to contribute towards its good,” she said.
Obaji noted that recipients of the names would proceed to Obosi in the southeast to receive traditional tittles from the traditional ruler during the month.