Everyone Is Jumping Off the Brooklyn Bridge

Friday, September 01, 2006

Words to Your Mother: Uhuru

Uhura, chief communications officer on the USS Enterprise
Free to do what she wants any old time

"Uhuru" is the Swahili word for "freedom". It is also the basis for the name of "Uhura", Nichelle Nichols' character from Star Trek. This character has been mislabeled Uhuru several times, most notably in the end credits of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Uhura's name is a potential source from which to learn several Swahili words. Although she has never been given a name other than Uhura on-screen (and, according to some accounts, isn't supposed to have another name), her first name is generally accepted as "Nyota", meaning "star".

Nichols has occasionally referred to the character's middle name as "Upenda" or "Penda". "Penda" is Swahili for "to love" or "to like". Throw it all together and you have "Nyota (U)Penda Uhura" -- "Star Love Freedom". Perfect for a show that was made in the mid-60's.

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