‘African life consecrated in motherhood’

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IN a recent discussion with Cde Pritchard Zhou, the Zimbabwe Heritage Trust CEO, he said something so astonishing, yet so true.
“Among Africans, the mother is everything; she is the greatest, she is holy,” he said.
This got me thinking: Holy!
Among Africans, a mother is holy, yes!
When an African male marries the woman of his choice, when he says: ‘Be thou consecrated unto me,’ he gets consecrated unto her as she is consecrated unto him, she gets consecrated into his family.
In that marriage act, he sanctifies her. She is holy for him, for his family and for the community.
She is as pure to him as his own mother; she is inviolable.
How she carries and conducts herself reflects this sanctity. He protects her and she cannot be violated because wherever she is, she has that protection of someone consecrated to a special African male.
Cde Zhou went on to explain: “When a mother is in that round hut and she is cooking and everyone is seated around the fire, everyone is expecting nourishment from her, everyone is assured of a meal; she takes care of everyone.
“As she dishes out food for each person and everyone gets satisfied, she is dishing out more than material sustenance, she is giving spiritual nourishment.”
This was so profound, I kept thinking about it, examining so much about African life and it all came together.
A mother is the symbol of life.
The African bride brings forth new life into the family into which she marries and when she does that, she participates with the rest of the mothers of the family in the recreation of the circle of life in that family.
Thus she has to be holy, for to create life is sacred.
Each time she cooks, she is nourishing this life, not only in the immediate family but in the whole family circle.
She is saying: I will let there be life, let there be continuity in this family, let there be health, life in abundance.
When an African family welcomes a bride and celebrates, they say: ‘Sadza rawanda’.
They do not mean it literally as in plates of sadza or pots of sadza.
They are saying we have a mother and life will be nourished in our family – it is deeply spiritual.
The family is stronger, it is protected, yawana rusvingo.
An African male without a wife haana rusvingo.
Awana mai anowana chinomuvhumbamira.
Then Cde Zhou asked: “In these so-called modern practices where a female says to the male: Let us take turns in the kitchen, how does this work out?
“How is this mission of the family accomplished?
“How does the woman accomplish her mission?”
Obviously, the spiritual chords get disturbed, the tones and harmonies are distorted and they miscarry.
The mission is derailed because it is the mother who brings forth life, it is she who nourishes this life, that of the father included. She is mother to him – the husband and to the children and to the whole clan and the whole community.
Is it not a very great honour to be mother to have such a sacred responsibility to so many?
It is she who is his strength and courage.
When African males are deliberating on issues as leaders of the family or community and word reaches them that: ‘Vana mai vati, vanamai vanechikumbiro’, such is always given the greatest weight.
It is the way of African life; the father is there, the head of the family, senior to the mother, her protector and he provides for her, but she gives him life, nourishes him and is his strength and courage in the tribulations of life.
The complementarity of it makes life meaningful, enjoyable and enduring.
For this reason, the true African male looks beyond the skin, beyond the face, into the heart, into the soul.
He searches for that which honours the sacredness of giving life, nourishing it, that which would be worthy to create life in his family circle of life, we discussed.
He would search for true African values, of love and respect – not artifice.
He would search for compassion, kindness, courage, industriousness, humility, modesty chastity, selflessness, dignity, integrity and for a woman of honour.
Thus the true African male is not bemused by foreign ‘white hair’, orange skin which is the result of bleaching through creams or tablets, neither is he mesmerised by half-clad bodies, as that which would protect the sacredness of his family circle of life; as that which would protect the holiness of his family, or his sanctity as a male and so to which he must consecrate himself or that which must be consecrated to him to protect his honour and holiness.
The true African male would know to give his heart to that which is worth it.
African life is consecrated through the mother because the father consecrates her unto himself and she authors life, nourishes it, keeps it holy as she protects her own sacredness and sanctity as someone consecrated to a special African male.
Africans celebrate motherhood because they know it is their own true heart.

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