African people in the west became chief-less people pursuant to conquest. Slavery, colonization, cultural and spiritual imperialism has systematically stripped away traditional forms of government for displaced African people. There is a contemporary trend developing that allows people to receive titles without any prerequitsites. I have seen people receive titles for communities when they don’t even know where they are located. Titles are even being given for joining fraternal groups or facebook pages. This is a subversion of ancestral tradition. This gifting of titles is a slap in the face of all those who have worked hard toward the cultural and spiritual restoration of African people in the Western Hemipshere. I can not participate. Titles are and have always been a reward and a method of recognition of the contributions individuals have made to their communties. People who hold traditional titles should have to work very hard for them; and upon receipt they must pledge to to continue to serve and maintain their space in the governing bodies of traditional rulers. Titles and their positions last generations.
People without leadership are easily dominated. Those who are not self-governing are easy prey for conquest and ideological indoctrinations by other political or religious systems. Restoration of titles and societal positions to people in the so-called New World, is a step toward the slow process of empowerment for those who are struggling to reclaim the cultures and the traditions of their fore-mothers and fathers.
So many people have asked me the meaning of the new prefix listed with my name that I decided to write a brief explanation. “Naa” is a title bestowed upon female members of a (paramount) or Imperial monarch’s court, a person descending from a royal bloodline. I discarded the use of Naa because I did not want my use of this form of the prefix to be confused with others who also use it as a partial title that connects them to the Matriarchial throne of Nubia; they use the Ghanaian prefix of Naa Asafoanye. The Nan prefix is used in the Benin among the Anago Yoruba, Fongbe and Minoan people to indicate a woman’s connection to the Divine Feminine principle power of the universe as identified in Vodoun. I am a descendant who has been restored to my family’s bloodline placement among the Anago and Fongbe people. My title and my en-stoolment as the Igbo Iyalase of my king in Benin allows me to not only use but also to bestow this prefix upon community females when they are elevated to chieftancy responsibilites according to bloodline and oracle. Nan and Naa imply that a woman has a relationship to the positions occupied by the Great Mothers of Africa and Her thrones. Some tribes use only two letters such as “Na” as a prefix to indicate a titular tie to a throne. Naa and Nan prefixes are used when the family of the individual is a member of ascension bloodlines to a paramount throne or when an (already) en-stooled female Chief holds a specific title or ritual obligation over a respective village of a predominant ruler. Fang Bulu, Betu people of Cameroon, Gabon, equatorial-Guinea and a bit of Central African Republics of Congo use “ Nan, Nna, Nane, Name” and sometimes “Nina”all are equal to or refer to the divinity of “mother.”
There are many Chieftaincy classifications that are West African institutions. A royal court has chiefs and priests who do not carry the Naa or Nan prefix because they are not in a lineage line to a throne. For instance, there is a“Daa” designation in West African voudun for males. Daa appoints a man as a”king” or ruler of spiritual matters or leader of particular shrines. Her Royal Grace is an apellation that can be used by royal spouses or highly placed female chiefs. HRG can also be bestowed upon an individual by royal declaration. Translation caused some titles to lose their clarity and others have lost their meaning by being placed in non-bloodline contexts. The most significant lost is attributed to the lack of cultural infrastructure and extraction of purely spiritual data. An example of a bloodline prefix is a “Hrh”-Her royal highness prefix. In Africa “hrh” is never used by those who are not a directly and immediately in line and attached to a “throne” by blood. Recently, I have seen it used incorrectly by people who are “heads or top executives” of fraternal groups. This is mis-leading because there can be an assumption that there is a royal blood line when in fact there is only an organizational placement. In other words, all princes and princesses of a throne are “royal highness (es).” There is so much to learn during the arduous process of cultural and governmental restoration of African people.
One of the most important facts to remember about African royals and their chiefs is their positions are institutions long-established by the ancestors and their placement in society is an official status and an important part of the established core of traditional rulers. It is against most national and ancestral laws for people to misuse any of the “Naa, Nan, HRG or HRH” prefixes.
African Queens/kings are the personification of the goddess/god on earth. Our royalty possess constituted “divine” or sacred authority. Queens and kings, Naa(s), Nan(s) and chiefs, priests and elders are all custodians of the people’s culture; all are the embodiment of timeless traditions.