Uwimana is also known as Leocadie. Her name means “the child of God” and she has served the Lord for her whole life.
Emmanuel was the child of his father’s second wife. The first wife only produced daughters, and as an African man, his father wanted a son. The first child of the second wife was also a daughter. Ah! When would a son be born? Finally, Emmanuel was born. This name Mbonihankuye means “saving from shame”. His birth saved his father from shame. Kaburimbo – “tar mac” was what he was called at one time, because his skin is very dark. Later, in the Congo he was named Bolingo which means love.
Mariette Nyiraminani was named by her mother. At first, she was called Keza, but her mother forgot the name Keza when she registered Mariette. Since she forgot, she instead called her Nyiraminani, which means “the eighth child”. Mariette likes her mother, so she likes her name given by her mother.
There is a very funny story about Ronald. Originally, he was named Donath. When pancakes became a popular food in Rwanda, he didn’t want his name to sound like a pancake. So, he changed the letters. He made the name Ronald from Donath, and nobody thinks of pancakes any more.
Joyeuse is the French name for someone who is full of Joy. She chose this name in P5 when she was planning to be baptized. She heard the sound of the name, and found out what it meant, and chose it for her life.
Jeremie's dad was a Christian, and the prophet Jeremiah was the inspiration for his name. God told the prophet, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I sanctified you." In the same way, Jeremie's parents named him to let him know that God has many plans for him. Jeremie keeps that in mind as he strives to serve the Lord in his work.
Helene was given her name but she hated it as a child. Everyone called old ladies “Helene”. It wasn’t until she found out that many famous people are named Helen or Helene that she started to like her name. She found out about authors, singers and leaders who were named Helene. Now she likes her name.
Benjamin Nkusi, our leader of ALARM in Rwanda explained Nkusi, means “a royal cow”. His first name was originally “Attende ton”. It means “in the immediate future” or “any minute now” – because they were waiting for him to come. He became Benjamin when he went to school, and was the last son from both parents. He is the youngest of his family, and has become precious, because he has lost siblings.
Assiel Mugabe was named by his family. Mugabe means "the father of a king" (so, you may want to be his son :-)) and also his family was friends with a pastor. The pastor's name was Assiel, and the father had so much respect for this man, he named his son after him
Blaise Byishimo was born in the Congo, the 9th of 10 children, His father was an only son, and when he was 3, his parents died. Blaise’s father had to raise 60 cows, and couldn’t go to school. When he finally married, he wanted sons, but they did not arrive. It was 5 girls and 3 boys until Blaise came, which gave the father a lucky feeling. He named him Byishimo, which means luck, and sure enough, the next child was also a big, strong boy Bigabo. The grand total is 5 boys and 5 girls!
When Alexis Hemedy was named, his parents had no idea what “Alex” meant. He used to ask adults what his name meant, but nobody knew. It wasn’t until Alexis reached P6 that he was able to use the Internet to find the meaning of his name. It means “defender, helper” in Greek, and he has become that kind of person, a true defender and helper of others. His group, the Ineza Youth Foundation consists of 20 youth who visit sick people in hospitals. He is hoping to increase their outreach programs.
When Gaudiose Mukakalisa was born, it took her father a long time to decide upon a name. Her name means lucky, and she has been lucky since birth. Her family name is Mukakalisa, which means you have many cows, or you are a shepherd. Today, she is a shepherd of children. Gaudiose has 3 boys and another child on the way.
Before Fred Shema was “Fred” he was Shema Monday. When he was to be baptized, he chose his name Fred because of the Rwandan hero, Fred Rwigema.
Noheli Elie was named because he was born on Christmas. In most languages Noel means Christmas. The other name he has is Elie which is the French version of Elijah. Elijah the prophet could predict what would happen to people, and Elie has been able to do this same thing. During his schooling he predicted questions the teacher would ask on the tests, and his classmates would always ask, “What should I study? What will the teacher ask?” Elie would tell them, and he would be correct.
Cecile Nyiramana has a French name, and it has a Catholic origin. The name comes from the patron saint of the arts. Saint Cecile is the helper of all singers, dancers and artists. Cecile’s parents wanted her to become a joyous woman. As if to fulfill her destiny, Cecile heart feels happiest when she is singing, dancing and praising. When Cecile went to secondary school, she found out (from a nun, the headmistress) that the French have a special day to celebrate Saint Cecile, which is 22/11.
When Benjamin was born, his father had been sick for eight years. The family had gone to traditional healers (witch craft) but none of that worked. Finally, when they were in prayers, his father got better and Benjamin was born. That is the reason his name is HAKIZIMANA, which means GOD IS HEALER.
Edouard Mugufi is the first son who survived from his mother after seven children died in infancy. The parents were very worried that this child would also die. They worried that he would have a short life. Because of this, he was named Mugufi, which actually means short. A short life. Guess what? Eduard lived and became big and strong. Actually, he is very tall. He is 195 meters (about 6’4”).
Emmanuel Kamashabi is not sure what his family name means. He wished he had asked his father before his father died, because not many people in Rwanda have that name. He knows it comes from Uganda, but he still needs to do more research. His name Emmanuel was given to him because he was born just before Christmas.