For Heritage Day in 2019, we released a video about the importance of respecting someone enough that you make an effort to correctly pronounce their name. This topic was brought up again this weekend after the first episode of season two of The Bachelor SA when we saw a very real example of what not to do with regards to Qiniso.
One of the contestants that we were introduced to on Thursday night on the premiere was Qiniso van Damme. Qiniso is a model, actress and a social anthropology masters student. She also happens to be the sister of Phumzile van Damme, a member of parliament.
Qiniso was the first contestant out of the limo, and after she gave Marc Buckner a pot plant she headed into the mansion and was able to watch as each of the other women entered.
This naturally gave her plenty of time to introduce herself. First, she was shown meeting Tegan (the runner) and once Qiniso said her name, Tegan immediately replied with, ‘okay, what can I call you?’ to which Qiniso replied with, ‘Qiniso.’ She then proceeded to teach Tegan and Adeline how to say the click. Adeline then confessed to the camera that she still can’t pronounce Qiniso’s name but promises to try. TBH it was a badass moment and Twitter was loving it:
— Ling Hottentot Dior (@LingDeeYoh) February 14, 2020
Oh hi what's your name? Qiniso. OK what can I call you? Qiniso. Classic!! Looks like I might just enjoy this😏👍🏻#thebachelorsa
— Michielle Venter (@mrsmishmush) February 13, 2020
I’m here for Qiniso telling this girls to day her name correctly #TheBachelorSA
— Sassy Sally (@NoloMal) February 13, 2020
You're telling me such young girls can't pronounce Qiniso? Hayibo did they not go to school with Kgaugelo, Qaqambile, Xolile, Chwayita, Nkqubeko etc. #TheBachelorSA
E mang pele 😑😑😑
— Ntombikayise 👑👑👑✊🇿🇦🇿🇼 (@ChizamaSays) February 16, 2020
Yt lady : what’s your name
Qiniso : Qiniso
Yt lady : what can I call you?
Qiniso. : Qiniso
I love her!!! 😂😂#TheBachelorSA
— Autumn Snow (@Zwothe_N) February 14, 2020
Even her sister had something to say:
YES SIS @qinisovandamme 🙌🏾
— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) February 14, 2020
Things heated up again when Amor joined the squad they showed Qiniso saying, ‘My name is the easiest, we live in South Africa, it’s Qiniso.’ Amor tries to say it once and Qiniso tries to teach her she responds with, ‘can’t we just call you Nay-Nay or NeNe’ – nicknames that sound nothing like her actual name. To which Qiniso replies with, ‘no.’
Qiniso: Hi I'm Qiniso.
Caucasian girl: Hi Sorry, what can I call you for short?
— Gugu Phandle (@GugsOutside) February 14, 2020
— Kate Nokwe (@This_Kate) February 16, 2020
— COSMOPOLITAN SA (@CosmopolitanSA) February 13, 2020
Later in the episode, they showed the other women gossiping about her, with Adeline calling her the ‘Aunty 1, the aunty that runs the house’ and ‘I can’t say her name’ and our resident Mean Girls, Bridget and Pasha saying that they don’t like her ‘hectic energy’.
You can watch that scene here:
The dismissive way that Adeline says, ‘I can’t say her name,’ the fact that both Tegan and Amor didn’t even bother to try and pronounce her name before trying to impose their own nicknames on her so that they can feel more comfortable, was just such a glaring example of what those with challenging names especially of African origins have to deal with.
As Qiniso said, ‘we live in South Africa’, a country of eleven official languages, and numerous cultures. The fact that her demanding to be called by her actual name is seen as so formidable by the other women is a problem. We should constantly be learning each other’s names and how to pronounce it, not trying to make things easier on ourselves. Too many first names and surnames of our ancestors have been changed, butchered and anglicised in order to make others feel more comfortable. As Zozibini Tunzi said in her famous Miss Universe answer, we are taking up space.
— Nodoli (@Tshegokiie) February 13, 2020
One of the participants in our #SayMyName video, Masechaba said, ‘When people try and shorten [your name] for no reason or to make their lives easier they take away from who you are.’
Watch our powerful video here:
We would like to challenge all the Bachelor women and everyone to respect Qiniso and everyone else by learning to pronounce their names correctly, it honestly just takes a little effort on your part.
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