Akelibone imisebenzi yamashona abantu abangakwazi ukwethesa abantwana amabizo sebeze besihlekise ngezinye izizwe.
BBC Africa 15 December 2003
In southern Africa if you carry the name Mandela, Sisulu, Tutu, Sobukwe, Luthuli or Samora, you are probably on a winning ticket and will go far. People will sit up and listen.
And moving further north, should you choose to name your child Nkrumah, Nyerere, Lumumba, Selassie or Sankara, he or she will have a head start.
But in that tradition, how come we have not heard of any little Miriam Makebas?
"What makes a person is his or her identity, so a name is really very important".
Paul Gisemba, Kenya
Rolihlahla, Nelson Mandela's other name, does not seem to have caught on around the continent. In Xhosa the name translates as making trouble for yourself, bringing things upon yourself or taking things on.
And you could be doing precisely that if you are stuck with a more questionable name, say Mobutu, Bokassa, Savimbi, Kamuzu Banda, or Idi Amin.
Instant name recognition? Sure. But who wants that sort of notoriety connected to one of Africa's disgraced giants?
There is a young lady who goes by the name of Kadzamira - named after Malawi's disgraced former not-quite-first-lady, Cecilia Kadzamira. She probably gets teased - if people remember that far back.
But where are the Anwar Sadats and how many Agostinho Netos are floating about Africa?
Being a legend in life or death does not necessarily mean one's name is bestowed upon future Africans.
Then there are names that are becoming fashionable, like Che, in the style of the legendary Latin American revolutionary, Che Guevara and Cuba's Fidel Castro.
Rolihlahla meaning making trouble has not been popular
The South African freedom fighter Steve Biko falls into that category, with his instantly recognisable face emblazoned on t-shirts, caps, posters, bags and badges.
The names of football and pop stars also attract attention. There must be any number of Roger Milla somethings dotted around Africa.
But get this: Elton John Taaibos, which means tough bush in Afrikaans, is a real human being somewhere in South Africa!
And you know the American film star, Bill Cosby who plays Dr Cliff Huxtable? Well his TV grandchildren were named Winnie and Nelson!
Cleopatra did the rounds for a while in honour of the historical Egyptian queen and, of course, the more contemporary, sexy, action-screen-superwoman, Cleopatra Jones.
She of the billowing afro, stiletto-heeled boots, hot pants and leather jackets, she was something!
Others prefer safer zones, going for tried and tested first names. Africa is full of Comfort, Patience, Hope, Faith and Charity.
In Zimbabwe they are more adventurous, but just as literal. Don't be surprised to shake hands with Jealous or Jealous Down - ie put your jealousy aside and admit it!
Suppertime, Petrol, Fingernail, Expedite and Messenger will welcome you to Zimbabwe. Gladness and Lovemore - two favourites - will no doubt be gracious hosts.
But how many people do you know called Loveless? Yup, they exist too. Maybe some have already been named Land Reform Policy or perhaps Equitable Land Re-Distribution.