In Somalia, people love nicknames. They also love naming their daughters after foreign countries and cities or even continents.
Some Somali parents name their girl after a city or country because it was a place they visited during their honeymoon, anniversary or another special trip.
Some places have a historical or family tie they want to acknowledge. Other parents admit this special place is where the baby was actually conceived or maybe even born.
Others name their daughter after a destination because it is place they would love to visit or even live.
Here are five favourite destination names for Somali baby girls.
1. Yurub (Europe).
For many Somalis fleeing war back home, Europe is a dream destination. Some are even willing to risk everything to make it to Europe.
An example: Yurub (Europe) Geenyo is a popular Somali female singer.
Istanbul is Turkey’s most populous city. Some Somalis say they name their daughters after Istanbul to acknowledge Turkish support for Somalia.
Somalis have a lot of respect for Turkey and its people. Since President Recep Erdogan’s visit to Mogadishu in 2011, Somalia and Turkey have fallen in love with each other.
It is common to see Turkish flags on every street in Mogadishu. Turkey has built a new hospital, airport terminal, embassy, the largest in Africa, and a military base, the only Turkish base on the continent, in the Somalia.
Berlin is the capital of Germany but it is also a city that has a bit of history in Africa.
In 1885, European leaders met at the infamous Berlin Conference to divide Africa and arbitrarily draw up borders that exist to this day. Perhaps that (in) famous date is what inspired many Somalis to name their daughters after the German city.
4. Palestine (or Falastine)
A famous example is Falastine Iman, a well-known Washington-based Voice of Africa journalist.
Somalis name their daughters ‘Falastine’ in solidarity with Palestinians. The Palestine-Israel conflict is one of the most sensitive issues in the World Muslim.
5. Makkah and Madina
Makkah (or Mecca) in Saudi Arabia is the spiritual heart of Muslims around the world. It is Islam’s holiest city, and is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad.
Madina (or Medina), also in Saudi Arabia, is the second-most important city in Islam and a major pilgrimage destination. “Medina” means the “City of the Prophet”.