By Victor Uyanwanne

As I interact with the outside world,  it appears that I meet more people who are unable to correctly pronounce the name than I meet those who are able to do so.

Uyanwanne, that’s my last name. And I love it when people pronounce it properly! Or is it not normal for one to so like one’s name?

I have been using the name for almost four decades now and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

“That’s expected,” someone may say.

Well, I agree with that! I consider it a great name, not necessarily because it has a deep meaning which accentuates brotherly relationship and trust, but because of the person that bore it – my late father Pa Uyanwanne Bakwunye.

Of course, Uyanwanne was my father’s first name, but now it has become our family’s last name. The awesome old man has passed on since 1994, but the name continues to live on with us and through us; the name naturally lives on in our lives as the identity remains in use by us his sons and his grandchildren.


To the people from my part of Nigeria and to some others outside of it, the name is very easy to pronounce. But some how, as I interact with the outside world,  it appears that I meet more people who are unable to correctly pronounce the name than I meet those who are able to do so.

To that extent, I am indeed grateful to all those who are able to pronounce the name correctly, especially those who do not speak my native Ika dialect or the Igbo language by extension.

But to people of the outside world, I have observed that it is a different kettle of fish altogether; pronouncing the name could be a mouthful. And that I completely understand!

“It is a 4-unit course” teased one friendly wag, who had difficulty pronouncing the name. All the same it is my name. Well, bear with me.

Here in Africa, and I believe in some other parts of the world, it is not unusual for people to bear long names, with multiple syllables

Over time, I am often amused by the way some people (mis)pronounced the name. Different – albeit irregular- versions of the name could be formed from the way some people have pronounced it in the past.

“Please don’t muddle up that name,” I have heard myself say to some people who mispronounced it.

But then I don’t blame them; they don’t speak my native Ika tongue. They need not!

I am not an expert in Ika dialect grammatical and pronunciation rules either, but the name could be counted into multiple syllables as follows: U/ya/n/wa/n/ne or simply as U/yan/wan/ne. Observing these syllabic divisions will naturally lead to the correct pronunciation.

Unfortunately, when I searched the name using an on-line word processor, it returned the name as a 3-syllable word. Obviously, that’s incorrect as it would result in a wrong pronunciation of the name. So as I said, the correct pronunciation would follow the traditional lines earlier noted.


In any case, some people still think the pronunciation of the name is jaw-breaking. Hence they sometimes feel at liberty when they mispronounce the name.

Do I mind? Not any more! I am aware that they are not intentionally muddling the name. Gladly. Some ‘foreign’ language speakers are able to pronounce it correctly without much ado.

But sometimes, I wonder why some others could not get the pronunciation right, even after being corrected. I wonder too if I do so badly in pronouncing the names of people from other cultures! May be, sometimes!

I am neither Chinese nor Korean so my name couldn’t have been Lee, Chan, Chen, or Chang – which spell mostly in one syllable format

Unfortunately, I am not about to change my last name. In fact, the name will continue to be used after my own generation is gone except of course, if my children decide otherwise. For now, it is the name I am known with and will continue to be known with.

Here in Africa, and I believe in some other parts of the world, it is not unusual for people to bear long names, with multiple syllables. That’s how it is too in the Mid-Western part of Nigeria where I was born.

Take for instance, one of my other names is “Okechukwuyem.” (pronounced O/ke/chu/kwu/yem). You see, the names we bear usually come in multiple syllables. That’s what I am saying….

I am neither Chinese nor Korean so my name couldn’t have been Lee, Chan, Chen, or Chang – which spell mostly in one syllable format – and very easy to pronounce. So please take my last name as it is and employ the best of your pronunciation skills where necessary.

The correct pronunciation of Uyanwanne may be jaw-breaking as some people have claimed, but it is still my last name.

Do people find it very easy pronouncing your name? Please share your experience.

Copyright | Victor Uyanwanne



  1. I’m Thankful you appreciate my humor Victor it’s been a part of me since I was a young girl but if you do find me a bit challenging remember there is a Stock – exchange or if help is needed Stockade is available.

    Blessings – Anne with an “e”


    • Victor Uyanwanne Dec 4, 2015 / 5:21 pm

      You got me smiling again. I wish I had such a robust sense of humour…. Keep the flag flying, Anne.


  2. I’m sure Victor if we were face to face I would say your name wrong, with my being Dyslectic I do that often but I love your name it even has has anne in it and Victor reminds me of being Victorious.

    Anne comes from the Hebrew name Hannah which means Grace and so does Anna and Annie, Ann etc.

    Often people leave the “e” off Anne which use to upset me too because I never really had a Surname for many years, they kept changing, first because of being abandoned by my Mother and then only being with my father a short time before he died and after this foster homes until I was Adopted and than once again being abandoned in my first Marriage, so my Christian name is very important to me, it’s been with me from the start and it’s still mine, my Pen names though are Annie and Melody, my Mum always called me Annie and some of my friends still do, Melody has a Spiritual connection for me too.

    My Married name now is Stocks, when I was in Hospital they told me they were doing a Stock Take as I was being taken to be ex-rayed, and recently I saw a sign that said Hurry while Stocks last, now if that is not bad enough, then I was told not to worry that new Stocks were on the way, Wow you can be sure I was not impressed at my age but I didn’t laugh like Sarah! I’m pleased though that they value me as unique, as they also said that The Stocks were a limited edition

    Another very special moment Victor was when we were crossing over the Border from Sydney to Queensland where Ron was born and wanted to retire, …there was a sign that said Stocks crossing, Wow! imagine that, they knew we were coming, Ron assured me Queenslanders are very friendly and welcoming.

    Well that’s my Names Victor, now I have to go and check my Stocks and Bonds before I go to bed, oh yes I almost forgot, Ron brought me a lovely bunch of flowers they were called Stocks, I guess were everywhere.

    Christian Love Always – Anne.


    • Victor Uyanwanne Dec 3, 2015 / 11:14 pm

      Thank you Anne for your time. This is the most wonderful response i have ever received on any of my posts.I mean from your analogy of my name to the given explanation of the meaning and root of your own name Anne, you were really very engaging and i found that very interesting. Grace, the meaning of your name, is the very reason i am VICTORious. Coming to anecdotes on your last name, Stocks, you got me laughing as i read it. I didn’t know you had such a great sense of humour . As an auditor, I totally identify with the stock-taking and out of stock experience you talked about. you were simply amazing n the narration…. an interesting response from you that was. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.


  3. Edmond Sanganyado Sep 7, 2015 / 1:26 am

    I have found people from Japan, China and Korea pronounced my last name better. Most people from my country can’t. The over-emphasize some consonants or even replace ‘ng’ with ‘k’. The first person to pronounce my surname perfectly was during my graduation at Bible College. He was a missionary, possibly from Southern California.

    Great article, I enjoyed it. After reading your name, I thought it was easy. Then I realized in Ika you do not pronounce ‘nw’ and ‘nn’ as single syllables (I watched a lot of African (Hahaha Nigerian) movies).


    • Victor Uyanwanne Sep 8, 2015 / 8:56 pm

      Interesting. So good to know you have plenty people in other climes who pronounce your last name very well. But you got me wondering why most people from your country can’t pronounce the name properly. Is the name not native to your country?

      I am glad you found it easy pronouncing my own last name. It’s really a compliment to me when people pronounce it properly.

      Thanks for your comment on the article. That’s huge coming from a master writer like you.

      Nigeria Movie industry (Nollywood) making waves in your base too! That’s nice.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Edmond Sanganyado Sep 8, 2015 / 9:29 pm

        My Father was from Mozambique were the names have a lot of accents. So, most people from Zimbabwe can’t pronounce it.


  4. Bette Cox Aug 29, 2015 / 11:39 am

    Interesting. What does your name mean? Words mean something. Names are words. Thus, names mean something.

    There is not a “Follow” or “Subscribe” button on your blog, Victor. Did you omit those on purpose?


    • Victor Uyanwanne Aug 31, 2015 / 1:39 am

      @Bette Cox. Thanks for your interest. Uyanwanne in a sense means “the cry” or “the call ” of a relative”. “Nwanne” in Igbo language means a relative. The idea of the name is that one should answer when he hears a relative call/cry. When this fails to happen, it leads to a “let down”. So in another sense, Uyanwanne could also describe a situation where a relative lets you down or fails to stand up for you as expected.

      The :follow”button has been reinserted. It wasn’t removed on purpose….. It probably disappeared during a recent change in the Theme of the blog. Once again. Thank you.


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