In retrospect, the most difficult thing in life was to be born black, let alone to be born a black female - Happy Mother's Day.

2015-05-10 13:58

Once upon a time in South Africa, the most difficult thing in life was to be born black, let alone to be born a black female. It was the white man on top followed by the white woman, coloured man, coloured woman, Indian man, Indian woman, and the black man and woman at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. The curse of colonial and apartheid South Africa was to be born black.

To this end, I can only imagine what was life like for my mother when she was between the ages of 18 and 19 in apartheid South Africa to give birth to her first unaccepted breed in an environment fraught with black poverty, black magic, black devil, and white Jesus. On top of that, she was a black woman, and this must have been a hell of a ride, but she survived.

She was a young and uneducated black woman whose hope, like many other women of her generation, was to get married to a well-off man which was her ticket out of poverty. In the early stages of her pregnancy, she hoped that this thing she was carrying through her body was not going to be her only responsibility but that of the father's as well. She envisioned that he was going to form part of the support structure together with the rest of the paternal side of the family, as it was generally considered a tradition. However, her first meeting with the father’s family to announce the pregnancy was greeted by her mother-in-law's rejection of the child.

She was a woman, black and uneducated, and she had to decide whether to give birth to this child or find a way to kill it instead of bringing him into this world of suffering, and she chose the former.

When the child was born, she had to think about how to make sure that this little human grows up to be a better person, with better chances of being employed by white people. The first step toward this goal was giving the baby a white name so that it was easier for future employers to address him, as the livelihood of a black person at the time revolved around whiteness. However, as a woman, she did not feel empowered enough to give an appropriate, functional white name, so she asked her older brother to name the child. The name he gave his nephew was Wiseman.

The child, born out of wedlock, with no prospects of a better future, was confronted by life-threatening baby sicknesses, but he survived for reasons beyond comprehension, and the mother eventually found a husband on the eve of the passing of Wiseman’s father. Moreover, as it was a tradition, Wiseman was left behind with the maternal side of the family, with whom he stayed for most of his childhood.

What is fascinating is that, at a very young age, Wiseman did not appreciate the circumstances of his birth, the sacrifice and the decisions that her mother had to make, and his mind was dominated by the fact he had been left behind with his grandparents. However, maturity brought him to the awareness and appreciation of how hard it must have been for his mother to bring him to this planet when everything suggested it was not a wise decision to do so.

Eventually, Wiseman became an educated man with apparent prospects for a better future, and his mother is very proud. The point I am trying to drive home is that there is no Wiseman without the endurance and courage of his powerless black mother. Noteworthy is the fact that Wiseman is a beneficiary of his mother’s willingness to bring him to suffering with the currency of hope that things were going to change, and hope was everything she had. Even today, hope is not just a motivational concept for the poor; it is what they eat, live on, breathe, and love and the only real thing they have, without which they can literally die before their time.

For this reason, mothers must be celebrated and spoiled in any way possible, and we must make sure that they are happy. Some black mothers suffer greatly, but I know that it is also difficult for many women across the world in our male dominated society because we, as men, sometimes use our power in ways that compromise the happiness of our female counterparts. For that, we must apologize and try our best to become better people.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mother, and other mothers across the world regardless of the colour of their skin. Never give up hope, for hope is a necessity that we cannot do without; it is fundamental to our survival. Thank you very much for making the right decision to bring me into a world dominated by injustice.


AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.