The ABCs of Setswana Names

By Nombuso Nkambule (@hrh_nombuso)

Each Setswana name is a symbol to the parents of what they want to see from their children or what the birth of a child meant at that moment in time. Graphic designer, Thandiwe Tshabala’s creates Setswana name GIFs out of her latest cultural workings in collaboration with Gaopalelwe Nke.

In March we brought you the body of work by graphic designer and illustrator, Thandiwe Tshabalala. Her work has been featured on prominent blogs such as Dynamic Africa and she was a member of the national 2010 Design Indaba Superstars creative team in Cape Town. The graphic designer extraordinaire has now released the second of a series of ABCs of Nguni and Bantu names. Her first compilation of GIFs (Graphic Image Interfaces) titled ‘The ABCs of Xhosa Names’ was popularly received and her new series of GIFs, the ABCs of Setswana names is available on her blog:




“It has become embedded in the Batswana people to name the offspring by awarding them with names that reflect or depict the great work of God. Every Setswana name revolves around the deeds or aspirations and plans of the Almighty. When looking at the names (illustrated) you will learn that every one of the names reflects on the happiness, sadness and hope brought upon by God. Each name is a symbol to the parents of what they want to see from you or what your birth meant at that moment in time.”



Information provided by: Gaopalelwe Nke | Illustration Gifs by Thandiwe Tshabalala a.k.a CMYKaffir.


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