I, like a majority of South African born, or even African born, Black men was raised by a single mother so I can confidently say that the one person who has had the biggest influence in my life is my mother. As if being raised by my mother wasn’t enough, we lived in my grandmother’s house and we also lived with my aunt and for about 13 years of my life I was the oldest male person in the house until my uncle came to live with us after my aunt had married and moved out of the house.
My mother is the last born of six children, of which four were boys, and because my aunt was the oldest of the children and didn’t play much with her she was raised by boys and she ended up being a very tough woman. While she was growing up she was the type of girl who would pick fights with boys and she was such a good fighter that she would sometimes protect her big brothers instead of it going the other way around.
Growing up my mother became a very independent woman and she never gave up on anything so after my father left her she worked very hard making sure that I never needed anything. She worked two jobs and even after she was diagnosed with TB she never stopped working and I can today proudly say that I am the man that I am today because of her bravery and hard work.
I am raising this because a while ago I read a speech by William Lynch that made me realize how lucky I am to have been raised by a woman who never allowed herself to be broken by a system that was designed to breakdown Black people. In the speech, which he delivered in front of a crowd that had gathered on the bank of the James River in Virginia in 1712 and was titled “The Making Of A Slave”, there was a section where he said ” if you break the female mother, she will BREAK the offspring in its early years of development; and when the offspring is old enough to work, she will deliver it up to you, for her normal female protective tendencies will have been lost in the original breaking process.”. This speech might have been said more than 50 years ago but its contents are still a reality today. Read the full speech here – http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Perspectives_1/Willie_Lynch_letter_The_Making_of_a_Slave.shtml
When looking at the Black community in South Africa today one cannot help but notice the effects of Apartheid which was a system that was used to destroy Black people and keep them in the mercy of the White man. The system achieved this by taking away the Black man from his family, forcing him to go to far away towns to go get jobs so they can provide for their families, leaving the women with the job of raising the children. The stress of raising the children and stress of sometimes being forced to also go out and find work, because the men would sometimes go for months on end without getting jobs, left the Black woman in so much of a mess that it affected the children. The Black child therefore found himself in a household where there were no parental figures because they were out there trying to make enough money to make sure that they had enough food to eat and that had its effect on him.
Because of the type of society we currently find ourselves in, where child headed households and single parents are a norm, the role that parents, especially the mothers because they are the child’s firs and sometimes only contact, play in the lives of children is a very crucial one. Whenever people decided to have children they must not only be sure that they are not only financially ready for that type of commitment but they are also mentally ready for it and that they are willing to commit themselves to shaping the life of someone who could possibly be the future leader in Africa and most importantly when you raise a young Queen raise one that will raise the future Kings and Queens of this continent.