Heard about Cecil the Lion? Who hasn’t.
You can ‘goggle it’, like some people say. Lol!
Anyway, Cecil was some obscure lion who hitherto roamed the plains of a Zimbabwean reserve until some unfortunate poacher lured him out of his cozy den and killt it!
Now the whole world is outraged.
Ermm…we didn’t even know there was a Cecil…oh? It’s immaterial, what’s important is Cecil is dead and the killer must face the fury of the animal loving world! And I’ll bet the next cub born into the Serengeti will be named Cecil.
I also imagine every human named Cecil on the face of this planet has been made aware of how ‘special’ their name is, in the light of the cruel butchering of Africa’s beloved lion. So thanks to this special attachment to names, I’m painfully reminded of how some people expect me to ‘feel somehow’ because of my last name.
My last name is Akande and I’m fast thinking of changing it, you see, I’m tired of being asked if I’m related to so and so. My answers have often determined if a door is opened for me or slammed in my face.
When I get invites to high profile parties, thanks to my friend or friends of friends and I get to as they say, rub shoulders with the high and mighty, time always comes when I get to tell my name. I’m often asked in accented voices, “Is your Akande that of Harry Akande?”
“Or Bisi Akande…?”
Then they go hopping, eager to pin me down, “Yes! I’ve got it, its Nike Akande. You are Nike Akande’s daughter? You have her eyes…”
Well, my deflated negative responses often wipe the friendliness off their snooty faces. But still, others are stubborn, they persist, hope in their eyes with, “Perhaps you are Chief Bisi Akande’s daughter-in-law? Yeah?”
I spoil their joy when I shake my head as if I truly regret not being who they wish me to be. When it’s obvious my Akande is the anonymous one , they go, ‘Oh, never mind” and strut off with their flat noses in the air.
Awww! Don’t be like that, I almost want to say, I’m fun, too, just without the loads of cash…yet. And so I swear under my breath and leave amused at their shortsightedness.
However, should the story be that they know your father or mother or aunty or whoever, I’d go to parties dressed to kill and all I need do is open my luxuriously layered lips and say through my flat nose, “My name is Paijay Bisi-Akande…”or “oh yeeah, I’m Harry Akande’s last child…” “Yep, I’m Nike Akande’s daughter, uh huh…”
And the doors would open sesame-like before me. Hummn, oh, what a life it must be! It’s the reason we have many people in places where they are not qualified to work but got the job because they dropped a name so heavy the company couldn’t say no.
But we are all victims of name dropping. You try going to any government office and drop a name like Osinbajo, or interject every sentence with Sai Baba, you’ll be amazed at how the officials there will be all over you like white on rice. That’s the thing, everyone wants to curry favour from the connection you have.
“I know your father! He was so and so…” no one cares about your character, they’ll judge you on the merits of your father’s sterling or tainted character. So God help you if your father was some rogue, you’ll have the door slammed in your face so hard, your nose will be glued to the back of your head.
No one cares how hard you’ve worked to reach where you are, they always imagine you’ll turn out like your father.We have a long way to go as a people, those who brighten only when a familiar name is dropped will have their hands burnt when they take in people simply because their last names ring a bell.
There are hundreds of hustlers out there who are good at their game, they have no names to drop but their talents, intellect and their word. We all have to take our chances with these people to prove the worth of their not so famous last names.