“If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky, and Dostoevsky, and Michelangelo, then they can learn to say Uzoamaka,” the mother of two-time Emmy Award-winner Uzo Aduba famously once said.
White people mispronouncing and oftentimes refusing altogether to say African names. We’ve seen it too many times before.
This year, black South Africans are taking a stand.
The hashtag #TheYearWeMispronounceBack started when recent University of Johannesburg graduate Karabo Mahlase (@Spoonkz), 22, shared his wish for 2016 in a Tweet posted New Year’s Eve: “2016 is the year for acting like you don’t know how to pronounce white peoples names”, he wrote.
The tweet has since garnered over 8.2 thousand retweets and has sparked one of South African Twitter’s first viral hashtags of the year. Trevor Noah has even got in on the action with a retweet of user @dubsphiwe.
Take a look at some of the best #TheYearWeMispronounceBack tweets below.
2016 is the year for acting like you don’t know how to pronounce white peoples names??? ???
— Archie Moroka (@Spoonkz) December 31, 2015
You can make a clicking sound when you call a horse but say khosa instead of Xhosa #TheYearWeMispronounceBack
— Donovan Goliath (@DonovanGoliath) January 2, 2016
“Hi, my name is Jonathan” “Oh nice to meet you Jabulani” “No, it’s Jonathan” “Lol, tomato tomahto” #TheYearWeMispronounceBack
— #FifthDimensionEP (@DJCula) January 1, 2016
#TheYearWeMispronounceBack Our ancestors did it to biblical names: Paul = Paolosi. James = Jakobo. Jonah = Jonase… Our ancestors were woke
— Jimmy Ramokgopa (@JimmyRamokgopa) January 1, 2016
You mean to tell me you can pronounce Google but not Gugulethu. #TheYearWeMispronounceBack rha!
— Loyiso Gola (@loyisogola) January 2, 2016
Calling all the Celiwes, Xolanis, Qhamkiles, Noxolos, etc, this is our year! The revenge is ours ??#TheYearWeMispronounceBack
— Mom kaGovernment (@xolimad) January 1, 2016