Personal Names Among the Basoga of Uganda--contributed by E. Joyce Matama Bakibinga

 The Basoga (Soga) of Uganda live in a surrounding between the northern shores of Lake Victoria and southern shores of Lake Kyoga, an area that is generally known as Busoga. The listing is of some of the personal names they use. Many of the names are associated with proverbs. 

Babalanda (m) [bah-bah-lahn-tdh-ah] "They reckon (or count) the womb"; this name is associated with the proverb, "People count (or reckon) those of their womb," implying that people tend to be overly concerned about their progeny, their siblings, or close kin, as synonymous with, "Blood is thicker than water."

Babi (m) [bah-bih] "The bad (people)"; this name is sometimes associated with the proverb, "A mass of people (or crowd) looks bad when it comes to sharing and eating food, but looks good when it comes to allotting work" implying that practically in either situation the food and the work gets finished quickly, but though with the food there will likely be friction over the sharing, in the case of the work the synonym, "Many hands make light work," will likely apply--human relationships therefore depend on circumstances that are rarely or are never unconditional.

Babiwemba ( f ) [bah-bih-wehm-bah] "They (people) cover the words up"; this name is associated with the idiom, "People cover up the words as they maintain quietness about them," which name sends a message of awareness people are concealing secrets by keeping their mouths about them.

Babuzanga (m) [bah-buh-uh-zahn-gah] "They ask around"; this name is associated with the proverb, "They ask around, then they disclose," meaning people often ask questions for the sake of negative gossiping and even harming.

Babyerabira ( f ) [bah-yeh-rah-birah] "They forget the issues."

Bafumba (m) [bah-fuhm-bah] "They cook (or boil up, or devise)."

Bagalana (m) [bah-gah-lah-nah] "They like (or love) each other"; this name is associated with the proverb, "Those who are rich, like (or love) each other."

Bageyana ( f ) [bah-geh-yah-nah] "They backbite each other"; this name is associated with the proverb, "Idle people backbite each other," which exemplifies that people tend to overlook or not their weaknesses, but they do find and point out weaknesses in others, as synonymous with the biblical proverb of one pinpointing the spec in the other's eye without noticing the log in his.

Baisi (m) [bahy-sih] "They are killers"; this name is originally associated with the saying, "People are killers," which deplores the murderous nature of many people, despite the prevailing humaneness.

Bakaira (m) [bah-ah-kahy-rah] "They (people) have recently come back"; this name is originally associated with the returning home of folks who had migrated far away from home, many years ago and settled in new territory or abroad, but have recently returned home. The name can hence be given to a child born around the time of returning home of a person or persons who had lived and settled away from home from their native territory for a considerably long period of time.

Bakulimya ( f ) [bah-kuh-lih-mjah] "They cause you to cultivate/ dig."

Baleke (m) [bah-leh-keh] "Leave them alone"; "allow them"; this name is associated with the idiom, "Leave them alone to talk, they will get tired of it," implying that gossipers and backbiters eventually get weary of their negative ranting so, they will ultimately stop it, hence the targeted persons ought not be overly concerned.

Balikowa (m) [bah-lih-koh-oh-wah] "They will get tired"; "they will become fatigued"; "they will become weary"; "they will get fed up"; this name is associated with the idiom, "Leave them alone to talk, they will get tired of it," implying that gossipers and backbiters eventually get weary of their negative ranting so, they will ultimately stop it, hence the targeted people should not be overly concerned.

Baliraine (m) [bah-lih-ih-rahy-neh] "The people live in adjacent neighborliness"; this name is prevalently associated with the proverb, "People who are neighbors in proximity, are not neighbors in the heart (or in the soul, or in friendliness, ideas, or beliefs)," meaning that it is quite common for people who have lived or worked closely which each other to vary in belief, behavior, and opinion, and even to be dangerously negative to each other.

Balyanabaisi (m) [bah-lyah-nah-bahy-sih] "They eat with killers"; this name is originally associated with the saying, "People eat with killers," which implies that neighbors, close associates, or even family that one may seem to be quite close and friendly with can still harbor intentions to kill the person they closely interact with.

Balyanango (m) [bah-lyah-nahn-goh] "They (people) eat with leopards"; this name is originally associated with the saying, "People eat with leopards," which implies that neighbors, close associates, or even family that one may seem to be quite close and friendly with, can still harbor or develop hatred and even predatory intentions to kill the person they are close to that are likened to the nature of the stealthy leopard.

Basalirwa (f/m) [bah-sah-ah-lih-rwah] "They are disappointed (or regretful)"; this name is associated with the idiom, "People become disappointed about what others have," which decries the prevalence of jealousy and envy in society.

Baseka (m/f) [bah-seh-kah] "They laugh"; this name is sometimes associated with the idiom, "Those who laugh, are laughing at the children."

Basirika ( f ) [bah-sih-rih-kah] "They (people) become quiet/ silent"; this name is prevalently associated with the idiom, "They become quiet, they do not speak," which can relate to situations of people being secretive or tight-lipped about issues that are significant.

Batambuze (m) [bah-tahm-buh-zeh] Travelers; this name is associated with the proverb, "When travelers tire, they rest."

Bateeze (m) [bah-teh-eh-zeh] "They (i.e., people) are ambushing"; "they are lying in wait for"; "they are on the watch out for; they are hexing (or bewitching."

Bateganya (m) [bah-teh-gah-ndjh-ah] "They (i.e., children, or people) are problematic (or troublesome)"; ones (i.e., people, or children) who are annoying (or give trouble, or cause to take pains, or who are disturbing).

Batuuse (m) [bah-tuuh-seh] "They have arrived"; this is originally a raiding and combat name associated with the idiom, "The warriors have arrived."

Baweza (f/m) [bah-weh-zah] "They amass a reasonable (or considerable) amount

Bazawa/ Bazaawa (m) [bah-zah-ah-wah] "They get lost/ disappear"; this name is associated with people who left their home locales many years ago, and more or less permanently settled in the foreign environment.

Bogere (m) [boh-oh-geh-reh] "Let them talk/ gossip"; this name is associated with the idiom, "Leave them alone to talk, they will get tired of it," implying that gossipers and backbiters eventually get weary of their negative ranting so, they will ultimately stop it, hence the targeted one(s) should not be overly concerned.

Bukusuba (m) [buh-kuh-suh-bah] "You miss out on"; this name is associated with the proverb, "When visiting, the most important thing is to get to see your host even if you miss out on the host treating you to a meal." Traditionally, a visitor is offered food by the host, but circumstances such as the visitor arriving late or after food has been served may not make the food readily available. But the friendship meeting and interaction between the visitor and the host is, after all, the most important aspect of the visitation. The visitation becomes much more worthy than the food.

Buteraba (m) [buh-teh-eh-rah-bah] One who little cares about his/ her appearance or mannerism; sloppiness; this name is prevalently associated with the proverb, "Not checking yourself makes you insult (or blame, or underestimate) one who is superior to you," which proverb encourages people to be moral, disciplined and respectful.

Byobona ( f ) [byoh-boh-nah] "What you see"; this name is associated with the proverb, "What you see is not what tell," which urges people to be cautious about uttering about what they have noticed or witnessed.

Ekinataama (m) [eh-tch-ih-nah-tah-ah-mah] "That which will get out of control (or become violently angry, or grow fierce)"; this name is prevalently associated with the proverb, "That which will get out of control is not counteracted by medicine," implying that how significantly violent an impact or happening will be, will be displayed by its early aggressiveness and the inability for it to be stopped, just like an aggressive terminal disease cannot be controlled by medicine.

Galubaale/ Galubale (m) [gah-luh-bah-ah-leh] "That (water) of the rock"; this proverb is prevalently associated with the proverb, "The water on the rock does not cause you to quarrel (or is not quarreled over)," meaning that because water lying on a rock is usually little and will quickly dry up, it is not worth fussing over--therefore people ought to be more concerned with things that are significant and worthwhile, and also share these things other than be selfish.

Ibembe (m) [ih-behm-meh] This name is originally associated with a child born in the gardening field during which the coarse grass known as "olubembe" (or "ibembe") was being dug out and cleared out to allow for crops to be planted. In the past it was not unusual for women to give birth when they had gone out to dig in the field.

Kanakulya (m) [kah-nah-kuh-ljah] "That which will eat you up."

Katono (f/m) [kah-toh-noh] "A small thing"; this name is sometimes associated with the proverb, "That which is small is eaten (or is to be shared) by those who are dear to each other," implying that it is easy to share things that may appear small and insignificant (such as portions of food) with those who are close and dear to each other, such as sibling children.

Kibikyo (m [tch-ih-bih-ih-tch-oh] "The bad one that is yours"; this name is prevalently associated with the proverb, "That which is bad but is yours, is of much more worth to you than that which is good but belongs to your neighbor," which encourages people to properly count their blessings such as a woman appreciating the fulfillment of having given birth to a healthy, though unattractive, child.

Kirikuwiine ( f ) [tch-ih-rih-kuh-wih-ih-neh] "It is on (or depends on) his/her colleague (or friend)."

Kiriwaigulu (m) [tch-ih-rih-wahy-guh-luh] "That which is up above in the sky," this name is associated with the proverb, "That which is up above in the sky, you trap from the ground."

Kyakuwa ( f ) [tch-ah-kuh-wah] "That which (God) gives you"; this name is associated with the proverb, What God gives you cannot be bad," implying that though in different ways and measures, God confers attributes to everyone; such that whatever the situation, everyone ought to be satisfied with what he or she is endowed with.

Kyamwine ( f ) [tch-ah-ahm-wih-ih-neh] "It (or that which) belongs to his/her colleague (or friend)."

Lubaale/ Lubale (m) [luh-bah-ah-leh] God; this name is prevalently associated with the proverb, "'God help me!'--just so long as I am putting forth the running effort!" which is synonymous with, "God helps those who help themselves."

Lufu (m) [luh-fuh] Fog; mist; this name is associated with the saying, "the fog has descended."

Mpakibi ( f ) [mpah-kih-bih] "Give me the bad thing."

Mubi (m) [muh-bih] "The bad (person)"; this name is associated with the proverb, "The bad one (blood-relative) who is alive is worth more than the one who died," which implies living kin are important and special even if they do not appear to be worthy.

Mubialiwo (m) [muh-bjah-ah-lih-woh] The bad (person) who is present; this name is associated with the proverb, "The bad one (blood-relative) who is alive is worth more than the one who died," which implies living kin are important and special even if they do not appear to be worthy.

Musana (m) [muh-sah-nah] Sun; this name is sometimes associated with the proverb, "Times of misery are like the beam of the sun: it does not scorch only one person," implying that everyone, time and again, is afflicted by suffering and misfortune.

Musere (m) [muh-seh-reh] This name is originally associated with "bukaala" small seeds which are notorious for their coarse-textured outer shelling which enables them to easily stick onto clothes, just like Velcro fabric. In the distant past when it was common for births to take place in the field, a child who was born in a grassy area with many of these "bukaala" seeds would be given this name.

Mwogeza (m) [mwoh-geh-zah] One who causes to speak (or talk, or say); one who stimulates talk; one who speaks with.

Mwogeza-Idembe (m) [mwoh-geh-zah-ih-dehm-beh] One who speaks softly and quietly.

Mwogezi (m) [mwoh-geh-zih] Spokesman; speaker, talker; gossiper; this name is sometimes associated with the proverb, "A shrewd and smooth talker should not cause you to drop (or lose) what you have," meaning that one should always stand firm and be weary of quick and opportunistic tricksters who tend to be convincing with their words.

Ndizairayo (m) [ndth-ih-zahy-rah-yoh] "I will get lost/ disappear over there"; this name is associated with person who left his/her home area many years ago, and more or less permanently settled in the foreign environment.

Ndizaawa/ Ndizawa (m) [ndth-ih-zah-ah-wah] "I will get lost/ disappear"; this name is associated with person who left his/her home area many years ago, and more or less permanently settled in the foreign environment.

Tagaba ( f ) [tah-gah-bah] "He/ she does not give away (or give as a preset, or divide, or distribute, or apportion)."

Tibafanwa ( f ) [tih-bah-fah-ahn-wah] "They cannot be exchanged"; this name is associated with the proverb, "Offspring cannot be exchanged," which implies that offspring, regardless of their quality, are permanently biological products of the parents and therefore they cannot be exchanged like goods and services.

Tiberowoza ( f ) [tih-beh-roh-woh-oh-zah] "They do not reflect on themselves"; this name is associated with a tattletale who habitually and carelessly gossips, and hardly takes into consideration that the consequences of the gossiping could involve harm to him/her.

Wotali ( f ) [woh-tah-lih] "Where you are not"; this name is associated with the proverb, "Where you are not, is where you call good," which implies that grass tends to seem "greener on the other side."

Other names of the Basoga include Babireba, Babyekangaba, Badeebye, Kakira, Mpatalyona, and Tigawalana.

Jonathan Musere

Comments 18 comments

Deus Tusubira 6 years ago

I have a long list of Basoga Names like Kironde, Musibira, Kakuba, Mukaaya, contact me at dtusubira@must.ac.ug for more


macreen mudoola 6 years ago

I think the list is great .However we need a complete list of names and their meanings as some of our names were not included in that list yet we need to know their meanings


Alice Namulondo 6 years ago

I agree several names are missing, yet their meaning is significant. The contributor should have began with hers - Bakibinga


Kanywamusai Juuba 6 years ago

I think we can add value by categorising this list at clan level. This would be an interesting project to which I am willing to commit. Copy someone out there?


Benon Kigenyi 6 years ago

Great start,

However I think some of the meanings are not exact. The names in Busoga have hidden meaning most of the time, take for example Galubaale, it means of the rock, but the meaning is infered from the dictum, "Galubaale Tigamala ndiwo" thus Rock water (That which flows from the rock) does not quench thirst!

Simillary, Kirikumwino (its on another person-literally) is Kirikumwino nekirungi kyokwanganga; meaning, A speck in another's eye is what is easier to speak about. And many of the names contributed above follow suit.


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Musere 6 years ago from West Los Angeles, California Author

Hello commentators. Great input, corrections and suggestions! Well, no list of personal names can ever be exhaustible. This short list was sent to me by a family member, some years ago. I could have incorporated them in a book; but decided against that ambitious project, but deemed it worthwhile to publish them on the web--I did that several months ago. I relied greatly on her information--and I am quite sure so much more can be added and modified. And names can have more than one interpretation.


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Musere 6 years ago from West Los Angeles, California Author

And yes, it would be worthwhile for a willing person to take on a Basoga Names/ Clans compilation project. Many of us would willingly contribute. We are unlike the Baganda who have extensive literature on the subject. The clan-name connections of the Basoga can be challenging because there were so many chiefdoms in the region that became Busoga. Buganda was a big united force under a Kabaka and names like Ssebuwufu, Ssentamu, Ssepuya, Bongole, etc. are attached to particular clans. But of course, there are many names that are general or related to circumstances at birth, etc. and not specific to families or clans.


MARTIN 6 years ago

Hello bakagwa!

I need information & much deeper significancy on the meaning of the name; kiriwaigulu.

Thanks.


William Byansi 5 years ago

Great reading

Joyce,


Gatluak Nhial Gew 4 years ago

is good to write name and definition because

those who do not understand, may know the

meaning of word.

thank


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Musere 4 years ago from West Los Angeles, California Author

True; thanks!


na mulondo ,naikoba,or mugweri 4 years ago

that kind of name mothercould be of certan clan namusubo means that her mother was mwese musubo


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Musere 4 years ago from West Los Angeles, California Author

Cool!


Mutyaba Eddie 4 years ago

Thanks a lot for the information here. However, like someone mentioned, the history of the Basoga peoples, their names, clans and kingdom as well is not well publicized. Buganda kingdom and the Baganda peoples had significant influence on Busoga but the information is lacking because it was not documented.For instance so many names are today shared among both the Basoga and Baganda peoples, and although people from both tribes originated from the same clans there is no documented history to this effect. Thus this leaves significant possibilities of relatives intermarrying without knowing. More research into the history of the origins and relationships between the Basoga and the Baganda peoples need to be done to clarify on the matter.


joshua kiwanuka 2 years ago

these an very few names. add more


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Musere 2 years ago from West Los Angeles, California Author

Names cannot be exhausted, and blog sites offer limited space. But there are a good number of books that list African names; although there are many more that ought to be documented.


Kigenyi Mwandha 18 months ago

Obviously the list of names cannot be exhausted, but this a worthwhile project which can be taken up by the Obwakyabazinga bwa Busoga


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Musere 18 months ago from West Los Angeles, California Author

Thanks!

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