You are young, perhaps barely out of primary school, and you are still wondering why your parents saddled you with this strange, seven-syllable Igbo name that none of your classmates can pronounce properly. You are wishing you were an Emeka, or a Chudi… something easy and commonplace that you don’t have to spell all the time.

Well, let me just say how pleased I am to meet you. Yours is one of those old-time names that are both affirmation and benediction. They seem to be dying out. It has been a decade and more since I shook hands with an Uwachommadu. It means ‘The World needs People’, you know? Or more accurately, ‘The World needs a Person’. Your classmates can call you, ‘Uwacho’  (The world needs…). Lovely ring to it!

At first, your parents’ choice of name sounds a little silly: there are after all, 7.5 billion people in the world already. But chew on this: there are people, and then there are people. Your parents looked far and wide, sized up the billions and billions of people in this crazy, crazy world and shook their heads. This world still needs somebody, they thought, and you were named.

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