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Sunday, 26 June 2011

Bucky, Bukky, Buky, Buki, Bukki.

Ok, it's a tiny trivial thing but I almost find it easy to know how close a person is to me or how much a person thinks about me by the way they spell my name.

My name is Bukonla which is abbreviated to 'Bucky'. That's how I spell it anyway - traditionally it's spelled Buki, Buky, Bukky even Bukki but very rarely ever Bucky. Many Nigerians secretly believe I have come up with my version of an 'Oyinbo' spelling and immediately leap into helping me out by 'correcting' what must obviously be my extremely poor spelling. *giggle* (Oh, please do NOT call me Bukonla - I will not respond. That is reserved for very close family and the guy in my life. Call it my thing but I find it extremely presumptuous when people try to call me Bukonla when I haven't introduced myself to them as that.)

Back to Bucky - blame my parents - they brought me up to spell my name that way. All my life, I have only ever spelled it that way. All my siblings spell my name that way. Growing up, teachers back home went nuts when this little child fresh from the UK, stubbornly refused to have the spelling corrected. A Naija primary school teacher once threatened to fail me in a paper if I did not spell my name Buki when it was submitted. Y'all seen the movie Roots with 'My name is Kunta Kente??' And how he was whipped for stubbornly refusing to take on the name 'massa' gave him? All I can say is Kunta would have been proud of me. The teacher got back the test paper with Bucky defiantly scrawled on it. I passed the test - and the poor woman gave up on her version of 'teach kids how to spell their own names spelling bee'. 

In secondary school, I had a teacher who almost had an apoplexy when I refused to respond to her calling me Bukonla. I got thrashed for it on many occasions but after days of my 'selective deafness' whenever she called me Bukonla, she reported me to the Principal (or Headteacher). To  her shock (and my relief),  Head asked her why she was trying to change my name from the way my parents called me. Ok, that teacher hated me for the rest of secondary school! LOL

Our names, our identities can be intertwined. I look at my name and I see me. When I see my name spelled any other way but Bucky, while I accept it, it's feels like the person isn't talking to or about me. When a person who is not special to me, calls me Bukonla, everything within me says 'No, it is not your right to do so.'

Facebook has made me realise my teacher's 'name spelling bee' is still alive and well. Some people will respond to a status update of mine and spell my name every other way but Bucky. It kinda makes me chuckle.

Over the years, I've discovered that for my closest friends and those most accepting of me, I usually almost always become 'Bucky'. And as for folks who maybe aren't so close??? Ahhhhhh well, guess they'll keep helping out my obviously weird spelling and nudging me in the 'right' direction by showing me a 1001 other versions of the spelling of my name! *sly grin*



Anonymous said...

Never really noticed ur spelling. My one and only biological sista spells hers 'Buki my brain has been wired to spell it Buki but for you my sista by another mother there is room for change we shall spell it Bucky from now on. Consider it noted :) Viv

Anonymous said...

Hi Sis,

First time I've checked your blog, i guess thats what ths site is called? Now, I am the proud sis who gets to call you Bukonla. By the way, I always thought that "we" were thje ones who spelt Bucky correctly. its the only spelling I know and i wondered why others spelt it wrongly! Only goes to show how we "judge" others by our own truth and reality. Thank God that we have now eaten of the tree of life, the manna that comes down from heaven and therefore we no longer judge or discriminate on this basis. Love you, your proud sis - yetunde