There are two things that I don’t respond to. The first one is texts in shorthand and the second one is my name spelt wrong. The latter really makes my blood flow backwards.

Ever since I started taking an interest in digital marketing and personal branding, I’ve come to realise the importance of having my name spelt correctly.

The Netherlands embassy put out a call for gender champions in preparation for this year’s 16 Days of Activism. One of the judges is my friend on Facebook and I’d been watching her posts cause the algorithm sometimes works. And the one post she put up after they announced that they had begun the judging process blew my mind and got me thinking.

If you were looking for me on the internet would you find me if my name was spelt wrong? My government name is Thembelihle Terry-Lynne Zulu and my brand name is the shorter version of that Thembi Terry Zulu. If you were to search for Thembelihle Zulu, do you know how many of those there are. One of them on Facebook is a porn star even. Because there were so many Thembelihle’s that’s why I always use my name with my middle name. Mom says that’s why she gave me a middle name in the first place, to differentiate me from the dozens of Thembelihle’s out there.

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So when you spell my name Temby, Tembie, Themby, Thembie and any other sacrilege I get very upset. I’ve had publications send me my articles for proofreading before publishing. You’ll call me a diva but I just have standards. When you go for a job or any other interview, they advise you to catch the panelists’ names and address them by their names when responding to their questions. How is it different on print? Why interview me if you don’t know what my name is? I refuse to be associated with rags that don’t respect me.

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Some people will respond on social media looking right at your name and still spell it wrong. Explain to me how that happens, I’ve literally signed my name on the email, how hard is it to simply copy and paste? It’s the little things.

We went for a doctor’s visit with Mr. W and as usual the receptionist had written what she wanted. The doctor comes in and starts going through the forms. He asked me if my name was Thembekihle. I told him it’s not but it’s just a typo we can proceed. I was in pain. He refused, he took my papers back to the front desk and had them fix my name. He explained his pursue of excellence and how simple errors like a patient’s name could be problematic in his line of work. I have friends whose names are registered wrong on EcoCash and I wonder what the use of IDs when cashing out is for when clearly the names won’t be matching.

Simple things like typos, grammatical errors and spelling people’s names wrong is a symptom of a much bigger problem. We have completely stopped pursuing excellence in everything we do. You’ll see typos on billboards that cost thousands of dollars to put up and you wonder where all the people in the company were when that billboard was being approved.

I’m a copywriter by profession so my job is literally to proofread the copy that we create as an agency. So I don’t allow people to text me in shorthand. I don’t want to be dumbed down to the point of being okay with wrong spellings cause that would mess with my cheques. Also, I feel like if you text me in shorthand, you don’t respect me. Would you write your dissertation in shorthand? I don’t think so. So why would you wanna come do bad things on my watch? Nah fam, go play elsewhere. Shorthand makes my eyes bleed.