Name game more relaxed in country


Fancy naming your child Elixir or Ritter, Matric Examsion or Victor Don’t-Worry? Well, you can in South Africa.

UNUSUAL: Bongi Sibuyi smiles as she holds the hand of her son Recall, left, who was conjoined to his twin brother Recant at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital. Pictures: Masi Losi. Credit: Independent Newspaper Limited

South Africans have taken to naming their newborns after just about anything that tickles their fancy.

With Roman numerals the only exclusion, the sky’s the limit, according to the Department of Home affairs.

Last month there were reports of an Icelandic teenager who sued the state for the right to legally use her name, Blaer – “gentle breeze” – which was not registered on the official name list.

Iceland’s personal names register consists of 1 712 male names and 1 853 female names – according to the state this is to protect children from embarrassment as pronunciation in Icelandic is tricky.

Last week the Reykjavik District Court ruled that Blaer can be used, overturning an earlier rejection by Icelandic authorities, who declared it was not a proper feminine name and Blaer Bjarkardottir had been identified simply as “Stulka”, meaning “girl”, in communications with officials.

In South Africa, while some parents prefer traditional names, others preferred names a little on the adventurous side like Holiday or Two-Rand. Names with meaning like Precious, Goodness, Gift and Remembrance are favourites.

Department spokeswoman Manusha Pillai said forenames were limited to 50 characters, which included spacing.