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Decolonizing & Reclaming My Name

My Name Story

My parents lived and Zimbabwe before I was born and adopted by them. They came across my name during their time in Zim and fell in love with it. My parents adopted me in Colorado and gave me the name Nyasha, meaning grace and mercy. The name is pronounced NÉE-AH-SH-UH. Now my parents asked me how I would like my name said when I was growing up. Being young and becoming increasingly annoyed at most Americans not trying to pronounce my name correctly, I told them I wanted to be called NAH-SH-UH.

I maneuvered through life-giving and acknowledging the incorrect pronunciation of my name until after college. After college, I moved to Paris to work as an au pair for a year. For my host family, the correct pronunciation flowed naturally when communicating something, honestly, I had previously thought was impossible for caucasian people to do. I loved it being pronounced correctly. It reassured my faith that people can voice my REAL name, and everyone I have met since Paris calls me by the correct pronunciation of my name. I have come to realize I whitewashed my name to make others comfortable.

The importance of names was highlighted even more to me as a teacher. You cannot tell a five-year-old you cannot remember their name or pronounce their name after having been in the classroom with them for a week. In summary, I have re-embraced and honored the correct pronunciation of my given name. Names matter. Pronunciation matters. Take the time to learn people's names and pronounce them correctly. It allows a person to feel seen, heard, and respected. It is deeply entwined in a person's identity.

I now make sure to put the pronunciation of my name in my email signature and in all of my social media bios to help others learn the correct pronunciation. At the beginning of getting social media engagement around the work that I do, many people mispronounced my name when introducing me as an author. Since highlighting the pronunciation, this is now a rare occurrence. It's really wholesome to have reclaimed my name, and others pronouncing it correctly continue to empower it too.

JSYK. There is also this fantastic website for authors to provide an auditory pronunciation of their name. Here is my page: LINK

Pages from my second children's book, "I Affirm Me."

Illustrations Credits to Sof'ya Glushkó (@sobedient_art)

Ways to Support My Work:

  • Order a copy of my children's books

  • Leave a review for my children's books

I Affirm Me: The ABCs of Inspiration for Black Kids AMAZON GOOD READS

What's the Commotion in the Ocean? AMAZON GOOD READS

  • Donate towards my work as a creator

  • Book an Author's Visit

  • Book a Spiritual Consultation


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