Tips for Nigerian Grad students (2)

Jumi D. Odepe

Well, this is a personal preference and does not translate to advice, here we go, stay with your birth name when you get to your Grad school. Your friends, lecturers, and supervisors might not get it initially, give them time, they will! We all got the name Schwarzenegger, remember?

Since the world started mass migration, African immigrants have always changed their names, sometimes to avoid the pain of wrong pronunciation by foreigners or to avoid the awkwardness of the name, or to avoid being subjected to ridicule or sometimes just to make life easier for others. While some of these might be logical, I have a gut feeling that with our huge number in Africa and the rate at which we have migrated to every earthly space over the decades, if we have all kept our birth names, the present generation of immigrants would have had it easier.

Let's do the maths. If since 1940, everyone christened the African name "Jumoke", who traveled to study in the UK, maintained the name, conservatively, we suggest 3 Jumoke's come from Nigeria, Africa to the UK each year, the equation will be similar to the one below:

2016 - 1940 x 3 = 228

This implies a conservative number of 228 Jumoke's have been in the UK since 1940. Now, project the equation further. If, as immigrants, they all bore their birth names and introduced themselves to a thousand people (1000) over their period of stay. The dynamics of the equation changes such as below:

2016 - 1940 x 3 x 1000 = 228,000

This implies that the 228 Jumokes have met and introduced themselves to at least 228,000 individuals!! That is the effect of just one (1) name. Going by this calculation, our huge numbers in Africa and the numbers of African exports to the UK and other countries, by now the whole of the UK should be speaking one form of African language or the other!

I was just thinking aloud. Heritage means a lot. Your name is part of who you are. It is your heritage. Enjoy it whenever, wherever.


Jumoke Eniola Odepe