Sunday, March 31, 2013

To My Sisters: African Mothers

Miatta Kaisamba Turay
Africa should consider this century the "Century of the African Mother" The African woman has always been the bedrock of the family, but the African man has either always been too slow to realize this or may have never realized this fundamental truth at all.

African men go to their graves with the illusion that they were the champions in the family, not realizing that it was the mothers that were the true champions, the real unsung heroes. 

There are those who grew up in Africa and had great nurturing relationships with their fathers, but for the majority of us, it was always our mothers who provided that strong parental bond. Father will see the bag of rice in the corner and assumed you had no need to be hungry. It was always your mother who asked whether you had enough to eat that day. It was she who ensured that you went to bed with food in your stomach and a warm blanket to keep you warm.
Massah Kanneh

In the morning, our fathers reached into their pockets, gave money for food and then went about their business of being the ones that wore the trousers in the family. It was our mothers who made sure we had the cold morning shower before we went to school. They made sure our uniforms were clean and our faces well oiled against the dry and stinging cold Harmattan winds that blew down from the western Sahara. Our mothers made sure we had just enough money to buy that "bread and aborbor" during lunch. When we came home from school, they made sure we did not throw our books around, but did our homework and prepared for school the next day.

Mariama Bhonopha
When there was an uproar or fighting in town, our mothers would drop all they were doing and rush out and about, not stopping until they found us and guided us home like gentle shepherds carefully herding a flock of lost sheep to safety, checking them over and over to make sure they were alright, to make sure everything was okay.

From Prince Nico's "Sweet Mother" to my cousin Steady Bongo's "Haja Watta" our singers and minstrels have immortalized in song the great love that exists between mothers and child.

Musu Kaisamba
As opposed to other cultures where you grow up upon reaching the age of 18, you never grow up in the eyes of the African mother. You can be fifty years old and your mother will still treat you like the baby she had many years ago, the truant child pretending to be sick that she chased to school, the rascal child that she quarreled with the intolerant neighbor lady for. You could be the president of the country, but you will always be her little one.
Edna Kebbie Swaray
Fatmata Theresa Kebbie

For those who have mothers that are still alive, treasure them.  Fuss over your mothers, ask them for their blessings, let them give it to you while they are still around,  for there is no loss more profound, no pain more deep, no mortality more final than the death of a mother.It is like the loss of a shade that has covered you throughout your life, like a great cotton tree that shades a small village from the elements; from rains, storms, tornadoes and all the raging pandemonium nature can bring.
My Minnesota Sisters

On this Easter Day I ask God to bless all the women in my family and mothers all around the world. I dedicate this Easter day to the sisters in my family and to Sierra Leone women all over the world.

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