By Arap Doyo
An African Mum raised you. Right? Today is Mother’s day- a special day to celebrate mothers. In the same spirit, I will outline a few things that surely tell an African Mum raised you.
• First and Foremost- Kids get whipped. That is basic.
The mother runs the house and you had better learn this early. There’s a very high likelihood that your Dad will back her up if you get into trouble. Calling the Police won’t help. If you calll the Police, they may encourage her to flog you more. LOL
• You get whipped if you don’t eat your Ugali. You get whipped too if you eat all the food and leave none for the siblings.
•Older kids are expected to take care of younger kids and if the mum comes back to find an unpalatable situation, the whipping is communally shared by all kids.
• Your mum is basically a demi-god. It doesn’t matter if you learned that the sky is blue. If she says the sky is orange, the sky is in fact, orange. At least, in her presence.
• Your mum will seldom ever admit she is wrong. And if she does, you will be too stunned to even believe it.
•Your grandparents are the only people who can stop mum when the whipping time arrives. (And you will enjoy those moments.)
•It’s always better to take the whipping immediately; running away only increases the degree of your crime.
• Stealing sugar or something delicious left in the kitchen is a sure way to have a a GSU-Raila-IEBC moment. In general, stealing is worse than any other crime you might commit. You will be “returned to factory settings” with the nearest available whip.
•If someone comes to lay a complaint against you, it’s cultural for your mother to sometimes chastise you publicly and then comfort you privately. If however, it’s something major, expect the opposite. She’ll stand her ground and protect you but whip your brains out when you get home.
•Sign Language: African mothers communicate through sign language.
When offered sweets/food during a courtesy visit, it is wise to look in the direction of your mother and receive the all-clear (friendly smile) or the try-that-and-die stare.
•If she suddenly stops in the hallway and stares at you, make sure you instantly try to remember what chore or errand is left hanging.
•The youngest child will be blamed for everything….until he or she is able to talk.
•The oldest child will be blamed for everything that the younger children do.
• If you cry while being accused of something, it is assumed that you are guilty.
•Your mum will call you from upstairs, downstairs, outside, etc., to hand her something that is literally 10 centimetres away.
• Your mother is most commonly known by your name if you are her first born child. Eg. Mama Brio or Mama Oti, Mama Moha. You and your siblings may never know her given name until you have to fill out a form at the dispensary
• No matter how few the syllables in your name are, your mother and subsequently the whole family calls you by a shortened version of it. Your mum in most cases will have a special she addresses you with.
• Religious attendance and practice is not an option.
•Mum taught you that everyone who is older than you is your “auntie” or “uncle.” Calling them by their first name is basically a crime against humanity.
• Sodas? Either mum is in a REALLY good mood, it is a special occasion or there are visitors coming over.
• You will have maybe 3 conversations about sex with your mum – one when puberty starts to take its course, the second one when you start secondary school Biology, and the third one when you are about to leave home. The will all surprisingly sound like the Mean Girl’s quote, “Don’t have sex because you will get pregnant and die!” followed by “Do not bring shame to this family!”
If you can relate to any of the above, an African Mum raised you. Tag her if she us on Facebook or Tag a sibling that you grew up together. Better off, share the post and let others reminisce the good old times living with Mum under the same roof.