Born of An African Mum

A Shocked African Mum
Photo: Courtesy
Picture of Siloma


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My mum would beat you for anything. If you looked gloomy, she would ask why you looked like a dead person. You also had to minimize your happy moments because she would sweetly say something like, “It seems that you have not cried for a long while.”

If you found inner peace, soared in bliss, and exercised your exhaust pipe, she would give you a serious spanking that automatically restored you to factory settings. My mum was the reset button. As a primary school teacher, she was known to reset naughty kids to manufacturer’s default.

I think my mother was scheduled to be a superpower. Blame corruption and the rich getting their way in everything. My mum would now be a Marvel or a DC Comics star but I still blame deforestation, soil erosion, and rural-urban migration which is still the reason why we walk behind cattle in Oloitokitok.

My mum was royalty. She owned her kingdom and I was her maidservants. Yes, I said that in plural because I was everywhere every time. She was every African leader I learned in GHC; Kinjekitile Ngwale, Omwanika, Omulamuzi, Melez Zenawi, and the like. I wish she were Mansa Musa though.

I was my mother’s remote control, I was her messengers because she would send me everywhere at the same time, I was her shoelace manager, personal assistant, and chief of staff.

Let’s say I was her high esteemed slave, but what did I get in return? Nothing! Thank God the prodigal son got a fattened calf. But she was not that Hitler-ish, she occasionally bought me Fanta at the village’s shopping center; it doesn’t fully qualify to be called a town.

Soda was such a big thing to any child then. It was something grandiose, something extra-terrestrial. Soda was only for the rich. We would take Soda twice a year; during Easter and Christmas and maybe if sane people decided to marry our cousins and do church weddings. Slowly, Due to the high cost of living, Easter festivities faded out and our parents started telling us that sodas were harmful to young kids.

Kids would take more of Fanta and Blackcurrant. Coke, Stoney, and Krest were for the elderly. To us, those were hard drugs. We envied those Nairobi kids who visited our grandmother during the holidays. Our parents allowed them to take Coke, Krest, and Stoney. We thought they were not normal kids but extra-terrestrials with wireless charging technology.

I will make sure my mom pays for the embarrassment she put me through as a kid. In any big event, my mum would find me narrating ‘The gods must be crazy’ movie or any other nonsensical fictional to my peers. But she would grab me and shout, “Look at how dirty your ears are. How do you expect to marry a beautiful wife someday with dirty wax drooling from your ears? What kind of a Moran will you be?”

She would then wet the edge of her leso with her saliva and dig her fat fingers inside my tiny ears removing the ear wax that couldn’t wait till we got home. I would then lose the Bonga points I had gained with my new peers and sit at a corner nursing my shame.

There are three distinct characteristics of African mothers. One is that they have a phrase that always runs on their lips. They always ask, ‘In my house?.’ My mom would ask me, “You came home at 6:00 pm? In my house? The only people allowed to be out at 6:01 pm is a thief, a policeman, or a dog. Are you a dog? I know you cannot be a thief, not in my house!”

The other characteristic is that they are usually full of taboos of sijui their forefathers and their fathers said this or that. Ati Ooooh you are not supposed to whisper at night because you will be summoning witches, ooh you are not supposed to look cats at night, you are supposed to bind it with the blood of Jesus, etc.

The last thing is that they are always right! You do not tell an African mum that they are wrong. In their house? Don’t you know that it is taboo to correct your own mother? They can curse you and your entire generation. There are only two rules when dealing with an African mother; rule number one is that they are always right and the only one time they are wrong you refer to rule number two. Rule number two states, “Refer to rule number one above.”

My mother is the reason I am not married. I had tons of lovers in primary school, potential life partners who saw a future in me. She would see me trying to impress my primary school crush with punch lines from M.S Patel’s ‘English Aid’ and in a very soft loving tone she would ask, “Siloma, umeosha underwear?”

Today, the same mother has the audacity to ask me, “My Son, when will you get married?” but whenever I am about to reply, I tell God, “Father, please take this cup away from me!”

My mom is now humble, soft-spoken and a true definition of Psalms 8:5 which says, “You made him a little lower than the Angels; you have clothed him in honor and in glory.” Occasionally, she would think that she is in her house but would quickly remember that my phone has a hang-up button.

These days she calls me three times a day like a medical prescription (1×3) just to check up on me. Deep inside, I know she wants grandkids. Good thing she now knows what she did and she is just regretting her actions. She reads all my blog posts though. Recently, I posted a trailer of my new E-book, The Sky Monster and she bought it immediately.

Mum, I want you to know that you are reading this. You know I am joking right?

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