Tuesday, March 2, 2010

An African Reflects on Biblical Names

My friend Salamatou of Niger has shared some fascinating linguistic comparisons between the Hausa language and biblical names. Here they are:

Alice, I haven't heard from you lately. Hope all is well with you.

I was reading about Esau, being Ishan in Nigeria. I would say Isa which is a common name among the Hausas in Niger.

I will add, as I told you Hausa still uses names like:

Esaie = Isha'u
Salau which for me is Saul
Sarai = sarah
Nuhu = Noah

To tell you the truth, among my people leaders, there are Jews names. First they didn't make much sense to me but after researching; there might be a clue...

Dela or Delulu = Delila ( the song for Delulu is: "Dela, you are despised of women but the joy of men), all Delulu are also called "Kande=Kandas", she is called the one with twin names. It is not a given name, but a name given to all girls born after two, three, or various brothers. So a baby girl born after several brothers, not one, is named Delulu, Dela on the spot in addition to her baptism name. I am one.

Lutu = Loth, Zakariya'u = Zakariya'u, Dodo, Haruna = Aaron, Laban = Labo, Jeremiah = yerima, Sephora = Sahura etc...

Also, the story of Moses,"Musa" is told at night to children in remote villages, where people are illiterate, how he went through a big "kogi" with his people, calling to the all mighty for help, from the enemy coming after him.

And if Noah people originated in Africa, how is it that, the garden of Eden is said to be located in Irak? If Noah's arc stopped somewhere in Europe, how is it that most varieties of the animals it contained are found in Africa?

I am confused.


Dear Salamatou,

Genesis indicates that the biblical Noah lived in the area of Lake Chad. This is the only place on the surface of the earth that claims to be his homeland - Bor' Nu or Bor-No, meaning "land of Noah."

Armenia is probably Har'Meni, or more likely Har'Meru or Meri, only about 200 miles from the present shores of Lake Chad. Remember that in Noah's time Lake Chad was a sea, much larger than it is today.

Likewise, the word Ararat is not a reference to a place in Iraq, but is a misunderstanding of the Old Arabic herarat - حرار - which means vehemence. Better translated, har-arat would mean Mountain of Vehemence. This, coupled with the Genesis genealogical data showing that Noah's ancestors lived in the area of northern Nigeria and Lake Chad, seems conclusive. All the data fits this hypothesis: Noah's ark landed on a mountain in Africa.

When you read the book of Genesis you find 2 traditions about Noah (and 2 about the Garden). One is western (Afr-Arabian) and older, and the other is eastern (Mesopotamian) and later. This reflects the reality of the Afro-Asiatic Dominion which was ruled by Afro-Arabian and Afro-Asiatic (Aramaean) rulers who controlled water systems extending from west central Africa to the Indus River Valley. These ruling lines intermarried, as is the practice with ruling families. Their priests spread these stories and the binary worldview of the Bible.

Jewish names are close to the Hausa and Arabic. Hebrew, Hausa and Arabic are Afro-Asiatic languages that share common roots. The oldest of these common words pertain to priests, blood and ritual purity. They tell us a good deal about the Afro-Asiatic Dominion of the Afro-Arabians and Aramaeans. Their dominion has been reasonably well demonstrated by comparative linguistics, comparative mythology, cultural anthropology and archaeology.

You will find more information here:


Related reading:  Recovering the Africa Background of GenesisThe Afro-Asiatic Dominion; African Naming Practices; Mount Mary and the Origins of Life; The Christ in Nilotic Mythology


Belle said...

Salamatou--if you are reading this--please could you tell me more about the names Kande/Kandas that you mentioned in your message to Alice? I am trying to find out more about my name, Candice, which is a Cushite name--and I think Kande/Kandas might be connected to it.

What does Kande/Kandas mean in your language? And could you explain what you mean by "twin names"--how is Kande/Kandas connected to Delulu?

Thank you in advance for any information you can give me!

Alice C. Linsley said...


I'll notify Salamatou of your wish to communicate with her. I think I can reach her through Open Anthropology Cooperative.

The name Kandake (rendered Candace in English) is almost certainly a Kushite name. It is found originally in Meroe culture, also known as the ancient Nubians. The Greeks thought that Kandake was a proper name but it is a royal title probably related to the first male ruler Kain/ Kano named in Genesis 4. This is likely the origin of the title Khan and King. We find support for this in the book of Jude which lists Kain, Balaam and Korah as examples of people who failed to do right in God's sight. Note that Kain was a ruler who shed innocent blood. Balaam was a prophet who prophesied for money, and Korah was a priest who opposed Moses' authority. Ruler - Prophet - Priest are the 3 sacred offices of Abraham's people who were expected to serve God. I've written moe about Kain as Ruler here:

You will find more information here:

Alice C. Linsley said...

Candice, Here is what Salamatou wrote in response to yoru question:

"Dela Kande, they say is a twin name, traditionaly because the two names mean a girl among several brothers. But for me, it might have another meaning, which have to do with the Samson's Delila, and Kandace, the queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon. These two women were greatly appreciated by Solomon, and Samson, two prominant figures in Israel. And as such, they might have experienced jealousy from all the women surounding them.

The song for Dela is: Dela, Kande, mai tagwayen suna, mata an fushi, maza wasoso. Or again, Dela haushin mata, mata na fushi, maza wasoso: "Dela, the envy of women, but beloved of men.

Related to the name Dela, I am thinking of Dena, the sister of the children of Jacob. Because about Dela, it is also said that: who ever touches Dela, will have to deal with her brothers."

Since Delilah and Dinah were both noble women, that is, women of the ruling class, I see the connection to Kankake or Candace as a title meaning queen or ruling woman.

Candice said...

Thank you Alice and Salamatou! Very interesting information.