Of mothers and mother’s day

Mother’s day is celebrated annually on the second Sunday of May. This year it fell on the 10th. The magnitude of the importance of mothers is universally acknowledged.

This is evidenced by the existence of several words and phrases, for example we refer to Africa as our ‘motherland’ , one’s native language is one’s ‘mother-tongue’, and South Africa’s oldest city, Cape Town, is also known as ‘the mother city.’

In the Nguni languages of Southern Africa, the name Nonthemba means, ‘mother of hope’, Nonhlahla , ‘mother of luck’ , Nomcebo , ‘mother of wealth. In fact the prefix ‘-no’ means “mother of”. Nneka is a very common name among the Igbo people of Nigeria. It means”mother is supreme.’

Globally , it is not uncommon to have a child named after its mother , mother’s mother or father’s mother or indeed , great grandmother!

The concept of mothering goes far beyond merely giving birth. It entails great responsibility. Hence if someone is described as acting in a ‘motherly ‘ manner to a certain person it means that she is a very caring and loving person – even if she is not the biological mother of the person in question.

Being a ‘motherly figure’ requires the ability to instill discipline and inculcate moral behaviour to the young and, when necessary, the young at heart.

The world over , several songs have been sung to honour mothers. Youthful Zimbabwean Dancehall sensation Tocky vibes’s ‘Mhai’ easily comes to mind. Innocent Utsiwegota wrote a song called ‘Amai’ , Guess also composed a song with the same title, Boys to men performed ‘A song for mama.’ The late American rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur , a self-proclaimed ‘thug’ wrote ‘Dear mama . ‘All these singers share a realisation that although they are now grown up, to their mothers, they remain ‘forever young’ hence they still need their mother’s guidance – especially during trying times.

At the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany , Zinedine Zidane famously (or infamously , to his critics) , head-butted Italian defender Marco Materazzi after the big defender had allegedly made demeaning remarks about the French legend’s mother.

I, for one , cannot succinctly describe my mother , a warm hearted woman , in COLD print. At least , I can sum it thus : My family is my life; my friends and my relatives are my society (and) my mother is a vital part of my community.

Alick Macheso sings in a track called ‘ Nguva yekutenda off his 2010 album ‘Zvinoda kutendwa’,”Kubuda kwaro ndinoiwana nguva iyi , nguva yekutenda amai vangu muzvare . Ndinoziva hakusi kungwara kwangu kurama.”(With the dawn of each day I thank my mother. I know that it’s not because I am clever that I am alive.) Long live all the mothers out there. May God bless you exceedingly and abundantly. May the souls of the departed mothers rest in eternal peace. Their tender loving care is sincerely missed. The importance of mothers can never be over-emphasised. Happy mother’s day!

Post published in: Gender Equality

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