Brazilian Officials Prevent Couple From Giving Their Daughter Yoruba Name

Cizinho Afreeka and Juliana desired to name their daughter “Makeda Foluke,” because of their roots with the Yoruba culture, but officials at the registration office declined because the name makes no sense in Portuguese and it could provide possible future suffering for the girl in social life.

The couple however think the real reason their daughter’s chosen name was denied was because of racism. Afreeka, said: “It’s a form of racism that takes place in Brazil: the racism of subtleties. It should be very natural a man and a Black woman adopting an African name, as the country is made up of three races. It is difficult to prove. Only those in this skin knows.”

Luiz Fernando, a civil registration official, said. “The procedure is necessary with any name that can be used to leave the child in a vexatious situation or bullying. You have to filter. These procedures are normal, no one refused to do the registration. It is not the name, not the meaning. It’s pronunciation, diction. Racism is really in people’s minds.”

The officials asked the couple to give Makeda a more European-sounding first name. Then they could use Foluke as her middle name. However, the parents aren’t having and are left with no choice but to appeal to a judge. Afreeka said: “I will keep on until the end. Either it will be Makeda Foluke or she’ll be with no registration.”

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