Gender relations in Kihorombo names given to men and women

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study critically addresses gender relations in Kihorombo and shows how socially given names are used to empower or disempower people. It focuses on the names which are socially given to men and women and their meaning based on gender relations in the society. It does not deal with the naming system, baptismal names (official names) or names given according to events. The study attempts to assess social, political, psychological, economical, religious aspects of gender relations expressed through given names in Kihorombo names in the society. Understanding a problem is the part of the solution to the problem. The work proposes some of the solutions to the problem studied by the researcher. In this study more than one hundred names were collected along with their denotative and connotative meanings. These names were analysed using pragma-sematic approach based on Boesch’s Pragma-semantic Approach (1991). The findings indicate that Kihorombo names reflect gender inequality. Women are given names whose meanings imply submissive, passive, or valueless and therefore, this disempowers them. This has made the women to believe that they cannot do anything important to the society; as a result, they remain poor. On the other hand men are given names whose meanings imply superiority, leadership, wealth, intelligence and therefore this empowers them. This has made men to believe that they are superior to women and hence, can decide everything for women. It is this imbalanced gender relations in the Horombo society perpetuated through names that the study attempts to address.
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Names, Horombo language, Chaga language, Gender relations, Men, Women
Massawe, R (2012) Gender relations in Kihorombo names given to men and women, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. (Available at