Ibrahima Haliloulay Dia – this is my local name. Ibrahima or Ibou (pronounced ee-boo) for short is the first name.
Ibrahima is same as Abraham the Patriarch of the People and the Prophets. Haliloulay is middle name (or full version of Ibrahima), and it means “ami de Dieu” ou “une plume de Dieu“. A friend of God, God’s pen (like in It is Written). I love it.
Dia is the last name and is pronounced Jah. Dia belongs to the ethnic group Peuhl who are known as nomads and livestock rearer. I was baptised by a local teacher and organic farmer named Moussa “professeur” Dia (hence my last name). He was visiting a friend who lived in my compound in Wack Ngouna the day I first arrived, and after our greeting, he decided that my original name would be too difficult for the locals and gave me the name Dia. As for my first name, I chose it myself – Ibou. My first night in Dakar, the hotel clerk who helped me was named Ibou, and I liked the sound of it.
“Salaamaleekum, Ibou Dia laa tudda” (Peace be with you, my name is Ibou Dia)!