Having a hard time pronouncing my name? Let me help you | Hibaq Farah

After Thandiwe Newton revealed she’d used an anglicized version of her name for 30 years, here’s my guide to getting names right

I have a name that is, ahem, “hard to pronounce”. Not to me, of course – I find my own name, a traditional Somali name originally spelled Hibaaq, pretty easy to get right. It only has two syllables. What could possibly go wrong between Hi and baaq?

And yet my name is constantly misspelled, mispronounced and even shortened by others, to make it easier to say. That’s why the news of Thandiwe Newton reclaiming the original spelling of her name resonated with me. In a tweet, Thandiwe (pronounced tan-dee-way) explained that she has been known as “Thandie” for the past 30 years, after the anglicized misspelling of her name was used in the credits of her debut film Flirting.

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