Say my name!

It is quite strange how some of the things we take for granted have such a significant impact on who we are. A week ago I had a very bizarre epiphany while having a conversation with a certain lady in an elevator. This conversation has actually had such an impact on me as a person and how I choose to address myself, or not. The conversation was as follows , for privacy purposes I will call her Mellissa –

Mellissa – I’ve seen you quite often at the brackenfell gym. Do you stay that side?

Me – Yes, but I alternate depending on which side I am closer to, with work and all coz I work in Town.

Mellissa – Oh that’s nice! Sorry I didn’t even introduce myself, I’m Mellissa, you are?

Me : Haha no problem, it happens. Very nice to meet you Mellissa, my name is Sibahle.

Mellissa : Si? What? Oh gosh that’s too hard. I will call you cc *Laughs*

Me : *Joins in the laughter* No, not cc, just Sibahle.

My response is not something I planned, but in that moment it just hit me, I have a choice!! My name means “We are beautiful”, my parents gave me that name and it is how I choose to identify myself, it is a big part of me and who I am. When I first met Collins he asked me what my name meant, I told him and he said he thought it was a beautiful name (Excuse the pun!), as we became friends he always chose to call me by my full name regardless of the fact that we speak different languages. It is only when we became closer and fonder that he called me by pet names, (I thought it was cute), at that time it didn’t actually matter to me what he chose to call me, because we had known each other for a while.

A nickname is not forced upon someone, well, I mean 90% of the time our parents force nicknames on us which we grow to appreciate, but outside of your parents it is a CHOICE!! Someone should at least make an effort to pronounce your name and not impose some abbreviations on you and call it a name.

There is this post which went viral on facebook where people were informing others about correct name spelling –

My name is.png

Since I’ve started my new job people have been asking me about how everything is and what I like most, my top answer?

“I like the fact that since I have started working there, absolutely no one has asked me for a shorter version of my name. Not once! My head of development/mentor will introduce me to people and he will say my name in full, I absolutely love that. It’s thoughtful and respectful!”

I have been given nicknames such as Sibby, Sibs, Siba etc. and I have accepted these in the past but people are becoming lazy in name pronunciation hence I am exercising my choice of excepting or declining a nickname given to me.

Language barrier is never an excuse, say my name in full unless I state otherwise! It is my identity and should so be respected, and as people, we need to grant each other that courtesy.


Published by Sibahle Teyise

Mholo, Hello, Groete, Sawubona, Lotjhani, Dumela, Ndaa, Avuxeni! I’m Sibahle Teyise, JAGWAT founder and head content writer. I have an Undergraduate Degree from UCT majoring in Public Policy and Literature, as well as a Postgraduate Diploma from UCT specialising in Marketing, Events Management and Business Communication. I am an author under construction, working on my book to be published soon- "When It Happens For Girls Like Us". I started JAGWAT in 2017, following the success of my personal blog - Tales Of The Mute. The inspiration to start JAGWAT came after hearing the sad stories of women being murdered on a daily basis, the violence against women as well as the many stories of women taking their own lives because of suffering in silence. JAGWAT provides a platform for women to take back the power by sharing their stories on a public central platform and with this, they show other women that they are not alone. I believe that when women stand together great things happen. No women should suffer in silence and the more we speak up as women and create a sisterhood and support group, the more powerful we can become. I am passionate about communities with women from disadvantaged backgrounds and JAGWAT supports Women Initiatives as well as making a difference in various schools from the township by offering assistance to learners in the form of mentorship and tutoring. I am a self-proclaimed book-worm and although I am a shy person, I am a motivational public speaker. I was heavily bullied in primary as well as high school and I am extremely passionate about Anti-Bullying campaigns and initiatives. I read, I write, I gym, I pray, I cycle, , I hike, I run, and pretty much everything in between. I am a weight loss motivator having lost 16kg in the past 2 years, which is quite an achievement for someone who can’t cook. (Thank GOD for food that can easily be boiled!!) I am a firm believer that an empowered women can empower other women and JAGWAT aims to be that platform for Women Empowerment. On a lighter note: I have the worst music playlist in the history of playlists.

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