Tag Archives: travel

What’s in a name?

17 sep

You might wonder why the blog is called Lenyoloi – well there’s a very special story behind that and it goes back to a trip to South Africa in 2008. I went to SA with my karate teacher/mentor/extra dad Simon Chilembo (www.enervital.no) to see SA for the first time and to learn more about where he came from.

I have known Simon since 1989 when I first started training karate at 6 years old. We have always had a special bond, and now almost 20 years after we first met I would finally get to see where he comes from and meet his family. One day we went to see Simon’s uncle and many of his nephews. Before we left Simon’s uncle Moses wanted us all to pray together in a circle. Moses is a very good preacher and is known for this in the family. The prayer was very long and performed in the African language Sesotho, which meant I didn’t understand any of what was said during the prayer. Afterwards we took many pictures together (the whole extended family), and afterwards Simon and I said goodbye to everyone.

Moses in the center with Simon to his right. Simon's mother in the front and center.

Sometime after we had left I asked Simon about the prayer – and he said that Moses had given thanks for having the family together again and attributed this to the angel who had come into their home. This angel who brought peace and happiness. Angel in Sesotho is «Lenyoloi» – and apparently Lenyoloi in this case was me. I later learned that sometimes when a white woman (or man) visits South Africa one can leave and have gotten an African name, it does not happen to everyone but if someone gets a special impression of you they might choose to give you an African name.

This was a very special experience for me, and one I will never forget. I will always carry the name Lenyoloi with me, and all the love and warmth from that day will always be in my heart.