Babatunde

My youngest brother’s middle name is Babatunde, a Yoruba name that means father has returned. This may not always be the case, but Babatunde is given to a child (usually a male child, I believe, though someone might know better) that is born after his grandfather has passed away. A similar name is Babatunji (father has woken up again). Female versions are Yetunde (mother has returned), Yewande (mother came looking for me). I’m sure there are others and I hope you’ll educate me in the comments.

(Out of curiousity, is there a name for a girl who is born after her grandfather passes away, or a name for a boy born after his grandmother passes away?)

Anyway, today I’m dedicating my thankful post to my Babatunde because I think this name of his is really quite perfect for him. I don’t remember a lot of things about our paternal grandfather, but I know he was a cocoa farmer, and he was known to be a very wise man (and not just when he reached grandpa status!). Over the years, my dad has shared many of the words of wisdom his dad imparted to him, and also shared some of the family history and decisions his father made that demonstrate the kind of man he was. Our grandfather had a way of looking life that was just so practical and rational. The man made sense all the time, an annoying trait his son (my dad) seems to have inherited (but I can see where my dad gets so many of those qualities I love about him from!).

Now, how does my Babatunde brother compare? Well, the boy is a mess! He’s all over the place and prone to making rash decisions without considering the consequences. He’s completely scatterbrained (the phrase “would lose his head if it wasn’t screwed on” was coined with him in mind). If you want to give him your two cents he’ll patiently listen, say some things that make you think he’s listening and absorbing the info, thank you for your time and advice, then go and do the exact opposite! He cannot hold on to a cent: if he has $10 he will try to spend $20. He definitely has expensive taste. He’s the youngest child in our family but he has a bit of the “only child” syndrome too: spoiled and able to get away with nonsense. I’m ashamed to admit that I had a hand in spoiling him (not my fault: he was so cute as an infant and toddler).

So far he shares none of the above with his grandfather. But, they have two things in common. My grandfather had this really white birthmark on the back of his right hand, and my brother has the same bright white birthmark on the back of his right leg (photo evidence may be forthcoming)! He’s the only grandchild with the birthmark to my knowledge, and I don’t think any of my grandfather’s children had the birthmark. That alone is deserving of the name Babatunde.

The other thing that invokes our grandfather is the words that come out of Babatunde’s mouth sometimes. He’s 21, not the most devout Christian (I’m not saying I am) but he’s someone that people like to talk to and are drawn to. I find adults talk to him like they expect to have a meaningful conversation (despite his gangly, silly demeanour). I even have serious discussions with him occasionally because every now and then, when I least expect it, he’ll say something so wise, so beyond his years, that I really believe that at least in some way, this wonderful man that my brother never got to meet, lives in him, and God uses my brother to share a little bit of wisdom of the ages. It’s a neat thought, anyway.

Is there anyone in your family that is named for a grandparent? Does this person share some traits with his or her grandparent?

Want my monthly messages?

Subscribe for a monthly, often personal, message from Good Naija Girl.

Powered by ConvertKit

15 thoughts on “Babatunde

  1. Everyone in my family was born before my grandfathers or grandmother died. So there was no opportunity to give such names. I really don't think i can name my kids after a grandparent or a parent. I believe the child should be allowed to live his/her life.

    Those names have a way or making history repeat itself especially the unpleasant part though there are good sides to it too. Its also similar to naming your child "Junior". Its most times influenced by your faith. Another example for a female is "Iyabo". I think thats all i can remember.

  2. I have heard of those names before, in Igbo you have Nnenna or Nnanna, for female (grandmother) and male (grandfather) respectively. I once met a guy named for his grandfather. His grandad had died in the civil war of a bullet wound to the stomach and the boy had a round birthmark in the same place. Eerie right?

  3. My Little sister is named Yetunde after her paternal grandmother…Reading about your brother is like am reading about my sister…She looks very much like the old woman..talks too wisely for her 10yrs on earth…peope love her and are easily drawn to her.

  4. love this post,

    My late grandfather named me after him saying we have the same skin complexion, I never really knew him

    My grandmother calls me adamma, a name for pretty babies in my culture.lol

    Hope you have a good weekend.

    I

  5. i dont particularly like such names. like NBB i think each child should bear his/her own unique name.

    will like too see d pictures pls

  6. Another post I've enjoyed. I'm not Yoruba, I'm Ijaw from Bayelsa and my name (not Priye or Tonye btw) means Plan for us i.e. I am the first child and sonof my parents so because they didn't know what to expect they named me AyebaT********i (God plan for us). I'll be back for more, thanks :)

  7. Hmm pretty cool the way you describe it. Funny when I was growing up in naija, such names were looked upon as demonic; at least in my boarding school church…as per it has to do with reincarnation etc. However, now that I am an adult, I think there may be a beauty to such a name. I value my parents so much and if they were to die and their traits show up in my kids, I would be honored.

  8. Your brother sounds like my youngest sister. Onome. Think of all the "last born" stereotype ever and she is it. She is named Onome, which I believe means: this one is mine. and looks like a duplicate of our mom who passed away not too long after she was born. So of course, EVERYBODY spoiled her to make up for the loss..hence her "I am the baby!" mentality, even at 24!

    As far as I know, Uhrobo's not have names like Father or Mother …, we are more of a Akpo (meaning Life) / Oghene (God)…..

    sounds like Ur bro is gonna become one hell of a Man. dats ALWAYS great.

  9. What a lovely post. Its amazing how those who have come before us have a way of never quite leaving.

    My maternal grandmother named me after her mother. My daughter has my maternal granny's name as a middle name because she was conceived shortly after my granny's passing and when TE was born she had the same look my granny would have when we disturbed her sleep, lol!!!!

  10. Yejide

    Babarimisa(barinsa)

    Iyabode

    this are all names in the class you defined and will alow you rum on it and find the meaning from the way it sounds..wen i think of more, i will let you know.. I named myself after my grand pa, i guess i reserve the right to do that… but back then he was stil alive

  11. Im the baby of the family ( although im a twin, but i came out last so it counts lol) i dont get spoiled as much ( my twin brother does) ur brother sounds like a kid at heart even at 21! abeg let him be the baby! also ur brother sounds like me ( the wise part lol)

Comments are closed.