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Monday, October 16, 2006

Just One Name

posted by on October 16 at 15:18 PM

Malawi — A 1-year-old boy whom Madonna and her husband are seeking to adopt left for England on Monday, flying first on a chartered plane to South Africa, then on a regularly scheduled flight to London, where the singer has a home. The boy, David Banda…
This question is for my brothers and sisters in Malawi, a country that was once joined with Zambia and Zimbabwe to form the Central African Federation: As a people, why are you so fond of the surname Banda? The certainty with which one knows a day must have a sun stands next to the certainty that the minute one hears a Malawian has entered a room is the very same minute one will hear the word “Banda.” It’s always this Banda, that Banda, those Bandas. Really—I’m being very serious now—why the utter lack of diversity when comes to this one thing? The name of that Madonna boy could so easily have been Hastings Banda.

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You're really stretching here for things to whine about, Chuck.

Posted by BC | October 16, 2006 4:46 PM

Charles, this post serves no purpose at all but to reassure people of your presence.

Posted by joseline | October 16, 2006 4:55 PM

Why do Slog posts have to have a purpose? Keep wondering aloud, Charles. Some of us are listening.

Posted by Fnarf | October 16, 2006 5:01 PM

I'm not Malawian, but I would assume that it's simply a common name in the country, akin to Smith in England, Jones in Wales, Garcia in Latin America, Park in Korea, or any other number of names.

Posted by Gitai | October 16, 2006 5:46 PM

People, people.

Charles is testing your Google skills, and you lot are failing miserably.

Go look up Hastings Kamazu Banda, and you'll know why Malawians like the name— to wit, it represents independence, circa 1961.

Of course, Kamazu became increasingly autocratic, but there was a big, big population of wee-uns that had already been named after him before he declared himself leader-for-life in '71.

It was not until 1993 that Kazamu was forced to abandon his authoritarian rule and life-presidency, and he was acquitted of assassination attempts on 1983 rivals in 1995.

So, to answer Charles.

It feels quite odd to address a man who one has always assumed to be far more aware of African politics than oneself, and to find oneself saying, "clearly, Charles, quite a lot of Malawians bear the name Banda because there was no Malawi at all prior to the campaigns of Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

Banda was the first African leader to visit South Africa, in 1971. Are we still having problems understanding why "Banda" is a popular name in Malawi?

Of course, Banda was eventually driven from power due to exposure of corruption in his regime, but he was acquitted of charges of political assassination that were levelled against him.

Please, Charles Mudede, speak up: Are you in favor of the proposition of guilty until proven innocent?

There's quite a lot of history out there in support of giving Malawian children the name "Banda."

Do you, Charles, have any substantive objection to the name, other than "I, Charles Mudede, find that particular famous name sort of boring, and incidentally not perfectly conducive to my preferred Marxist outlook?"

Posted by robotslave | October 17, 2006 3:06 AM

you almost got it right robotslave. the joke of that post is that, in the last two words, it answered its own question.

Posted by charles mudede | October 17, 2006 11:22 AM

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