Many Babies Not Named Until Age Five in Congo
A gravedigger walks among dozens of fresh graves in the children’s section of the Penga Penga Cemetery in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Only one in five children in this city of 3 million survive to age five due to malaria.
You may notice that several of the graves are unmarked. These are perhaps the saddest stories malaria tells—in many African cultures, naming ceremonies for children do not take place until around age five. This is because families know all too well that malaria may very well take their young children from them and feel that it is bad luck to name a child until that child has a good chance of survival.