To Every African Woman, With Love
WASHINGTON, DC, 8 March 2021 – We certainly owe our lives to God. Yet, we would dare to say, each of us owes our life to the amazing demi-god that God named Woman.
They are our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our wives and our sheroes.
We owe them a debt of gratitude so huge, there is no treasure big enough, anywhere on earth to fully satisfy payment. Not unless we added a pound of our flesh, taken from a spot closest to our hearts.
Gladly, there is a woman, lying and quietly sleeping, deep inside every man. She is probably sleeping on the same spot where the book of creation says God took her from, at the very beginning of time.
Men would pay half the debt they owe women if they simply recognized and woke up to that woman in them.
You’ll know that the woman in you is wide awake when you fully embrace and appreciate the fact that every woman is man’s equal in everything and in every way.
Except, of course, that I’m still looking around for a male version of Mother Theresa and the many other amazing women.
Women are only as perfect as men are. We can accept and love our women, as they are, or we can allow the perfect men we claim to be, to search in vain, for the nonexistent perfect women.
There won’t be a replica of the amazing mothers and demi-gods who gave everyone of us life and nursed us through childhood.
So, let’s focus on paying our debt of gratitude to our women. Let’s recognize the Rosa Parks in our lives; or Winnie Mandela, who rose to fight a worse political system than the evil that the former had to face.
The trouble with our world is not that there are no more Rosa Parks. Rather, it is that we have gone blind even as many new ones rise in our midst.
We know them. They are our own. Never afraid to fight anyone and any system that dares to abuse their humanity.
They may not be the stars in Hollywood, Nollywood or Ambawood movies. They may never make some of those gold-sealed biographies or get mentioned even in the footnotes of books on civic education. Yet, they lead with courage and dignity – often quietly – all too frequently, leading from behind.
We have obviously heard of and read a lot about the lives of the Hillary Clintons of our world. We have seen what the first crop of women African presidents looks like… and what great class they have shown…from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Joyce Banda (Malawi), Shale-Work Zende (Ethiopia), Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (Mauritius) to Catherine Samba Panza (Central African Republic).
These women are the beginning, not the end, of the revelation of the greatness that lies untapped in the African woman. There are more intelligent and more deserving women from where this pioneer crop came from.
America’s Kamala Harris walks a path in the corridors of power in the United States that others like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, could have walked in Nigeria… if only prophets were recognized in their own land.
Repression and the worst forms of barbarism may kill the flesh and the human, but what is divine in our women – their fight for justice, their generous love – all live on.
“Sheroes” like Mami Appih of KwaKwa in Southern Cameroons aka Ambazonia will never die.
These immortals are in our own lives. They live in our own homes, in our villages and towns. They worship with us in the same church, temple, mosque, synagogue or traditional shrine. They are our wives, our friends, our daughters, our colleagues, our fellow citizens.
They have made us all better men and it is on such a day as this, that all men – especially African men – must be reminded of how damn hard their mothers worked on becoming true replicas of “Mama Maria”, Mother of God, for all of us, their children.
Forget the machos! A real man is one who, entrapped, crushed or dying, calls out, not to his father, but to the demi-god our Creator gave each of us – our mother.
Jesus Christ, God and man, did not fail the test of calling out to his mother from the cross.
Our brother in human weakness, George Floyd, and a manly man as any you know, wailed out not to his father but to his mother as the knee of a Minneapolis policeman choked life out of his body.
Jesus is still speaking to all men from the cross: “Woman, behold your son!….Behold your mother!”
Happy Women’s Day to the amazing women in our lives! Happy Women’s Day especially to the women of Africa. May God bless, reward and protect you now – and always!
From the Editorial Board of African Freedom Network