Since I’ve been here in South Africa, I’ve decided to change my grandmother name from “MotherDear” to “Magogo,” which means “old lady” in Xhosa/Zulu. This part of my journey has inspired me to take the name, because it is unlike any other grandmother name in America.
When we met Linda Biehl, she told us how Easy Nofemela and Ntobeko Peni, two of the men convicted for killing her daughter, had become family to her and their children call her “Magogo.” When we met Lindsay Henley, Program Director of the Beth Uriel, and she informed us that the boys of the house call her “Magogo” as well. Even though, she has been working there since she was in her 20s and was far from being an old lady, it was a name that gave her a family title.
“Magogo” is the Grandmother that cares for her family and extended family. It is traditional in African culture to take in children as part of the family who need care. And it is often the Magogo who takes care of these children with her pension and whatever means she can find. She too will tell stories to the children and anyone who will listen.
This name has grown on me and I must adopt it! This grandmother name change will also allow me to mark this part of my journey in my life. Since my only grandbaby, Mink (18 months) has not yet begin to speak my name, I think it’s a great time to implement a grandmother name change! “Magogo!” I LOVE IT!!