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Is a rose by any other name as sweet? Perhaps not.


Making a simple change can help realize one’s full potential. At TED Talent Search Lagos 2017 in Nigeria, Victoria Ohaeri describes the importance of changing her name to positively affect others' perceptions.  The 2016 Tutu Fellow tells her personal story about the effects of labeling, and how changing her name made all the difference.

Her name at birth meant Shut Up in her native language. As a school-aged child, she changed her name to match her given Anglican name, which meant The Pretty Face That Brings Good Luck.  Soon after her name had a positive connotation, people around her began to treat her differently.

Their attitudes changed, as her name had done. Even at this young age, she realized that she was able to transform an unfortunate situation into one where she could realize her full potential. 

In her talk, she applies her understanding of how labelling can impact other social narratives.

Slums are seen in a negative light. The media and society describe them as being rife with criminality, prostitution, and drugs. These labels discriminate against the poor and underprivileged who reside there. However, these neighborhoods are populated with talented people who have similar dreams to anyone else. They want opportunities to excel and prosper. Spaces for Change works to switch the narrative by using means such as social media and storytelling. These places can be transformed into wellsprings of positive inspiration to empower residents and overcome their circumstances. In telling the stories of the people who live there, it is possible to show that their hopes and aspirations are no different from those who live in more affluent areas.

Watch her inspirational talk on YouTube.

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Wednesday, 01 February 2023

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