It is intriguing to me that whenever I tell someone my name, there are many times when they pronounce it Shani-qua when I’ve pronounced in Shani-ka. Or they’ll ask me how is it spelt, and I’ll reply that it’s spelt with a ‘q’ but pronounced Shani-ka.
Some people seem confused by this or they think that I’m pronouncing Shani-ka, because I want my name to sound less ghetto which is definitely not the case. People would need to know the background behind my name to understand why it is spelt and pronounced in the way that it is.
Before I was born, my parents had it in their head that I was going to be a boy. My dad was a basketball fan, so they decided that they were going to name me Shaquille after the basketball player, Shaquille O’Neal. But I turned out to be a girl, which meant that this name was not meant to be and my parents had no immediate alternative.
However, my dad had heard the name Shanika on TV – it was quite a unique name then – and my mum liked it, so Shanika it was. And to incorporate the Shaquille O’Neal element into my name, they decided to spell it with ‘qua’ instead of ‘ka’, which I love because it has a prettier appearance.
This is why my name is spelt Shani-qua, but pronounced Shani-ka, and I love it. I love everything about my name, despite what anyone says, and I wouldn’t change anything about it. Some may think it’s ghetto, but there are so many others that think it’s pretty. You can say what you want or pronounce it either way, but ultimately I am proud of my name.