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What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet Capulet

Baby Litsitso … a blessing, indeed.
Baby Litsitso … a blessing, indeed.

In Lesotho names mean a great deal; they identify clan, character, and can offer hope or be associated with devastation. Seven weeks ago a beautiful baby girl, Litsitso (deet-SEET-so) Elizabeth, was born to proud parents Rethabile and ‘Maseithathi Sello.

This may seem an ordinary birth announcement until you have a closer look into the Basotho world view. What’s so remarkable about the birth of a daughter?

“Auntie” Kim holding Litsitso, with parents 'Maseithathi (left) and Rethabile (right).
“Auntie” Kim holding Litsitso, with parents ‘Maseithathi (left) and Rethabile (right).

The name Litsitso means “a blessing,” and indeed she is! However, in naming Litsitso, her parents made a bold statement and strayed away from what culture would dictate. The Sellos have another daughter, their first born child, who died two days after her birth and she hadn’t even yet been given a name. Basotho culture dictates that their next child would be given a name like Puseletso (pu-seh-LET-so), meaning, “the one who comes after.” This is a very common name. Can you imagine your name being a constant reminder of your parents’ greatest pain, the loss of their first born child? What a difficult burden to bear!

‘Maseithati, though not yet a believer, expressed their name choice this way:

We know what is expected of us, to name our daughter after an ancestor or to give her the name which indicates she was to replace our first daughter.  We don’t want that. Our daughter is a blessing and so her name means blessing.”

Oh, how close she is to understanding the love of the Father toward her! If she could only grasp how her love and concern for her daughter is but a fraction of her Heavenly Father’s love for her! I pray that she will be able to receive the ultimate blessing of eternal life and that she will see God’s incredible, unfathomable, inexhaustible love for her and for Litsitso.


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