Dashiki dialogues: Mothers, we salute you

2011-05-06 14:01

This one goes out to all the mothers. It’s an obeisance to real tiger moms, soft- handed caregivers, and even the hard workers who get little time to see their babies.

Lord knows it’s not easy pushing double shifts to make sure the rent is paid. Today we keep a candle lit on every window sill for motherhood.

We take note of those women who set forth at dawn to tend the households of strangers just so their own could see one more day.

Let’s not forget those fathers who need to play a mother’s role too. The ancients understood this all too well, so they taught us that it takes the whole village to raise a child.

This is why sometimes the whole neighbourhood must play mother, especially as HIV/Aids continues to claim the lives of many much-needed parents.

Orphaned children will know the meaning of this brand of love.

We also salute mothers struggling with personal hardships – from substance abuse to unemployment – but keep enough love for all their children.

Let’s remember that it’s out of such trials that our nation’s best examples were raised. So keep a special thought for mothers like the late Aunt Alice, otherwise known as Mam’Cete, mother to Steven Bantu Biko.

As a domestic worker of little means she raised a superhero who served us with his entire being.

This mother’s day, we also remember that Malcolm X never forgot the meaning of his mother’s struggles.

That, when times were especially tough and hunger pangs were severe, Louise Little did all she could to keep the wolf defanged, even as other people laughed at her children for eating “fried grass”.

Malcolm especially remembered how she would “raise a storm (against social workers) about being able to bring up her own children”.

The lesson she taught was that even when all else seems lost, people should defend their human dignity and pride.

Today, let’s also spare a thought for aged mothers in the rural spaces of our land: those gogos surviving on a monthly remittance from children working in cities.

How about those who not only mother their biological children, but have also embraced entire communities?

These are the amazing grannies with enough compassion to keep the planet electrified for days.

Their love gives meaning to all our dialogues and technicolour to our dashikis and dreamcoats.


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