Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Are you a Kwesi or a Kofi?

One of the many things I have shouted at me as I walk down the street here is “Kwesi!” or “Obruni Kwesi!” As with most things, I ignored it at first. At the same time, when I was meeting respondents or other random people and practicing my Twi, one of the first things that they would ask is “Are you a Kwesi?” I always respond, “No, I am a Kofi” and they crack up hysterically. I always thought they were laughing at my Twi…

A little background: A common tradition in southern Ghana is to name your children after the day of the week they were born on. As best I recall, I was born on a Friday, so my Ghanaian name is Kofi. Kwesi is the name for a male born on Sunday.

So why did they assume I was a Kwesi? Well, it turns out – and this is something I am not at all comfortable with, but was explained to me by several people independently – it turns out that a common belief in some of the communities I work in is that more white people are born on Sunday. Sunday is a day of worship. It is God’s day; Sunday is closer to God. White people are very lucky to have been born white. It is a reward from God to be born white; white people stand closer to God. White people are therefore more likely to have been born on a Sunday.

Why is it hysterical that I insisted I was not a Kwesi, but a Kofi? You get paid on Fridays. It’s the end of the week. It’s a day to kick back. Friday is a day of sin. Kofis are partiers, chronic misbehavers, naughty. By saying that I was a Kofi, I was saying that I was down for a good time, which, apparently everyone else was too.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Kofi...How do you recall that you were born on a Friday?
    Funny story, thanks for sharing! Mom