Mother’s Day: Tribute to the Forgotten Others

Sun, 12 May 2013 Source: Owusu-Ansah, Emmanuel Sarpong

Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu-Ansah

Mother’s Day, a celebration honouring mothers and motherhood, and acknowledging the influence of women in society, without a doubt, is one of the noblest and most laudable annual celebrations ever instituted and observed in our world. The fact that Mothers’ Day is embraced by every rational human entity and celebrated on various days in almost all parts of the world, demonstrates the incomparable preciousness of women in society.

Even the dumbest and most idiotic folks, who ridiculously and narrow-mindedly accuse their mothers of being witches and the cause of their woes, cannot deny the fact that they are alive and still lingering on because of the sacrifices made or being made by a woman or some women.

Mothers’ Day has probably become the most popular day of the year for people to dine out at restaurants or special places with women who have played and/or still play significant roles in their lives, and to give them various kinds of valuable items as a token of their appreciation. To say every woman, whether young or old, deserves such treats is an understatement.

Unfortunately however, society tends to forget our departed heroines – mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, grandmas, aunties, nieces and female-friends, on Mothers’ Day. Some of us are the beautiful children we are today because our departed mothers were the wonderful women they were yesterday. Children may occasionally have squabbles with their mums, but a mother’s love always conquers all misunderstandings.

Taking our departed mothers out for dinner, or buying them gifts such as jewelleries, clothing, foot-wears, vehicles, houses, etc. on Mother’s Day will certainly not be possible. But how often do we think of saying a prayer for them, naming a structure after them, laying flowers or wreaths on their tombs, writing or reading beautiful citations in their honour, etc. on Mothers’ Day? To what extend do we realize that our life stories are incomplete without them?

Like almost all last-born children, I frequently benefited from doting parents with what some envious people called lax discipline. Being the last-born child made me the automatic ‘recipient-in-chief’ of the partridge eggs that mum brought from the farm; the kuli-kuli (fried peanut paste) and ‘akwadaa gyae suu’ (doughnuts) that she purchased from the market; the ‘poki’ (iced beverage), ‘alewa’ (toffees) and balloons that she bought in the provisions shop; the neck and the two legs of the chicken that she cooked on Christmas or Boxing Day; the toys (including a VW Beetle) that she bought whilst on a pilgrimage; and many more. In the absence of my mother, I was the coolest person one could encounter, but in her presence, I was the most vigorous chap around. Whenever any of my elder siblings or cousins insulted or threatened to beat me up in the house while mum was away, I would keep my mouth shut and remain submissive.

But as soon as I heard the sound of my mum’s ‘tokota’ (a pair of slippers) and/or her voice from afar, the coward and dumb boy would all of a sudden metamorphosed into a no-nonsense and uncompromising warrior, now responding to every single insult hurled at him by his ‘enemies’ when mum was away. No one laid a finger on me, because ‘maame’ was always there to defend and shield her ‘Kaakyire’ (last-born child).

However, after defending me, she would walk me to her room, with her protective and comforting arm stretched around my back, and in a gentle and soothing voice, she would advise me to respect my elders and refrain from insulting people. She would then emphasize that whenever anybody abused me in her absence I should stay quiet and report the person as soon as she returned home so she could deal with them.

My siblings and elder cousins teasingly referred to me as a chap with only ‘efie ahooden’ (a child whose strength and bravery are effective only within the narrow confines of the house). And they were perfectly right; why would I carry my so-called strength and bravery outside the walls of my house where mum wouldn’t be available to defend and save me should my ‘enemies’ pounce on me? I had to play my cards wisely.

There were numerous occasions that I grabbed and tightly held onto my mums piece of cloth, vowing never to let go of the cloth until she gave me money to pay to watch a video show – Sholay (Gabbar Singh, ‘Shakar’ and ‘Dewal’), The Five Shaolin Masters (Kung Fu), Snake in the Monkey’s Shadow (Teacher Ho), etc. Even when mum didn’t have the money, she would borrow from a friend or relative just to make me happy.

When I managed to sneak into mum’s bedroom where my hardworking sister kept loaves of bread which she sold to ‘kyebom’ sellers and her other customers, I would never get out until I had filled my stomach to the brim. Knowing who the regular thief was, my sister would come chasing after me and demanding payment for the amount of bread consumed; but mum would swiftly untie that knot at the very tip of her cloth, and release a couple of coins or folded notes to clear the debt just to set me free from the claws of my enraged sister.

Each and every one has similar stories to tell.

Today, mum has responded to what Gabriel Okara calls, the ‘sea-bird call’, but she is never forgotten and her day will always be celebrated.

Irreplaceable departed Mothers, on behalf of your children, I say, AYIKOO, as we celebrate Mother’s Day. You may not be with us, but your spirits still live on and the fond memories of you will never sink into oblivion; you are gone, but the noble part you played in our lives yesterday can never be disassociated from the successful and responsible people we are today; you have departed into eternity, but the beautiful marks you inscribed on our hearts remain indelible; you are invited by your maker, but the love and the fear of God you brought us up to cultivate will always be a light to guide our path in this dark world and a star to lead us to ‘Bethlehem’ – the new Jerusalem. You will always be remembered and hailed.

Happy Mothers’ Day to all Ghanaian women. We love you and will continue to cherish you, even in death.

Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu-Ansah (Black Power) is an Investigative Journalist, a researcher, an educator and the author of Fourth Phase of Enslavement (2011) and In My End is My Beginning (2012). He may be contacted via email (andypower2002@yahoo.it)

Columnist: Owusu-Ansah, Emmanuel Sarpong