My name is Samkelisiwe. There is a story behind my name. In English it means: ‘We were welcomed’. I was given this name because my mother gave birth to me when she was only 17 years old. My mother was very young when she gave birth to me but my father’s family, my mother’s family, and the community as a whole, welcomed us with open arms instead of calling us bad names. They didn’t ditch us.

My great grandmother gave me this beautiful, lovely name. I was born in Mahatma Gandhi Hospital in summer. I guess that is why I’m so bright and beautiful. I love the sound of my name, especially when my friend, Maqhawekazi says it. Even my white teachers find it easy to pronounce my name.

I have a nickname that I don’t like. I didn’t choose my nickname, my grandmother chose it for me. She calls me ‘Wanini’. She was a bit cross, I guess, because she wanted to name me Snethemba but my parents didn’t like it. So she said ‘Owanini lo mntwana?’ because my mother gave birth to me when she was still a teenager. Everyone started calling me ‘Wanini’. I really don’t like my nickname to be honest.

My last name is Shude. My great grandmother, MaNtuli, got married to Bab’Shude then we all took Shude as our last name. I am so proud of my name and surname.

***