It’s cool to tell your mother you love her

2012-05-05 11:37

During apartheid the migrant labour system was designed to weaken black families by separating fathers from their children.

In the absence of fathers, mothers were forced to head families and most did an exceptional job raising kids alone.

For black people then, our communication skills were not strong and men’s wives were often chosen for them.

Expressing our emotions was a bit scary then and simply saying, “I love you” to our mothers was difficult.

That’s why we should celebrate Mother’s Day now, because it helps release that tension.

Three years ago I became a mother to a bubbly young girl. I named her Sagwati, which means Reward in my native Shangaan language.

Growing up in Tzaneen with my aunt I never really understood the bond that joins a child to its bearer. And as a teenager, Mother’s Day evoked cynicism.

It was like the tens of other commemorative days such as Valentine’s Day, Guy Fawkes Day and Father’s Day.

But all that changed three years ago.

I have since learnt that Mother’s Day is an opportunity to honour mothers and celebrate motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society.

“Mama” is undoubtedly the most beautiful word in any language and symbolises millions of things: the sacrifices, grief, pain and sorrow a mother has to undergo to keep her child happy and secure.

As Tupac Shakur said, “ain’t no woman alive that can take my Mama’s place”.

Mother’s Day is that day each year when people express their love and gratitude for all their mothers have done over the years.

On Mother’s Day you can tell your mum she will always be important and that you will love her forever.

Given that some people equate love with material wealth, it’s unfortunate that for some this is the simplest way to reach their mothers.

But we must not feel unworthy simply because we do not have the material wealth to do so – a simple DIY foot massage or a home-cooked meal from last month’s groceries will do the trick.

It’s the thought that counts.

Very few fathers can raise a family without a mother’s help. A mother with only R2 000 will devise ways to send her four children to university because she makes a plan, initiates it and does it all by herself.

This selfless act alone shows how vital it is to take time to celebrate our mothers.

And what do I want my daughter to give me this Mother’s Day? Her first smile.

Happy Mother’s Day, comrades.

» Silaule is a freelance writer

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