South Africa World Cup baby names: Moms choose Fifa, Bafana, and Soccer City
South Africa World Cup baby names such as Fifa, Bafana, and Soccer City are proliferating in the Rainbow Nation as white and black families name their children after stadiums and teams.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Anele Ntshinga could hardly contain her excitement a week and a half ago when she gave birth to a baby girl at Johannesburg’s Rahima Moosa Hospital just 10 minutes after the opening match of the South Africa World Cup.Skip to next paragraph
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As Mexico took on her beloved home team, Bafana Bafana, in Soweto’s Soccer City stadium, Ms. Ntshinga did what any mother in such a situation would do. She named her daughter “Fifa," after the sporting body FIFA that governs world soccer.
“Is my baby really born at 4 o’clock?” she remembers asking the nurses, who nodded. “Wow, I have a World Cup baby.”
"I will be more than happy to explain it to her the day she asks: 'Mommy, why do I have such an unusual name?' ”
If one needed yet another sign beside the hooting of vuvuzela trumpets, the hundreds of thousands of soccer fans, the gleam in the eyes of hoteliers and restaurateurs, the extra jingle in the pockets of tens of thousands of waiters, and the empty streets at game time, then the naming of South African children with World Cup-themed names is certainly a sign of World Cup fever.
Perhaps the best sign of all is that South Africans – white and black, rich and poor – have something to be proud of, something to unite around.
The excitement is not restricted to black African families. In Bloemfontein, the heart of white Afrikaans-speaking conservatism and capital of the Free State, Charl and Riana Reinhardt gave birth to twins, whom they named “Bafana” and “Mexico.”
In certain communities of South Africa, the naming of children is an extremely important process, marking a child’s character based on the circumstances of his or her birth. Unlike Western cultures, where children often take on the name of a favorite aunt or grandparent, South African names are often descriptive of qualities to be aspired to.