Growing up, I heard her parents calling her Shiloba so I started calling her Shiloba. I found the name unique and beautiful. But calling her Shiloba to other people was strange.

I was surprised when I found out the true meaning of the name one day when I went out to do my homework. I approached the sun and the sun told me to go and ask the second brightest man. I was surprised and confused. So I went to ask the light and the light said to go and ask the most natural and gorgeous plant in the whole world.

Although I was feeling lost and confused, I approached the garden and the garden pointed to the most attractive red rose. So there was a rose and I ask it who she was.

“I am the garden’s maid, a true definition of beauty and brightness. I am called in different ways and languages, but I do not change. In Sepedi they call me Litsoba. In Venda they call me Lilovha. In Zulu they call me Mbali. In English they call me Flower. And in my own language, Tsonga, they call me Shilobi. I am what’s beautiful in the whole world.”

I was able to find the true definition of the real African name, Shilobi. And I was never ashamed of it. Regardless of how people laugh when hearing the name, and afterwards defining me. I had always known the true me; the greatest beauty the whole world has ever seen.


Tell us: What is your name and what does it mean?