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10 types of Kenyan mothers

By Brian Guserwa | May 9th 2021

An African mother is a unique human being. From her dressing, speech and overall mannerism, you can pick her out from a crowd. They are demanding, loving, caring, thrive on drama and when you question her, she will loudly shout; “I carried you in my womb for nine months.”

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, here are 10 types of African mothers you are bound to deal with.

1. The dramatic one

African mothers and drama are two sides of the same coin. No one is as dramatic, for instance, as a mother whose son talked back to her, or whose daughter ‘mschewed’ in her direction. She is an expert at exaggeration and sarcasm, at playing the victim. “So you want to kill me?” “I see you have left that plate on the table again, just like your father left me.” “And your classmate who got 98% on the test, does she have two heads?” She will scream at the top of her lungs, summoning her entire family, just because someone left windows open, which must mean they want her dead.

2. The prayer warrior

Her Bible is her favourite accessory. She can summon it from nowhere like Thor’s hammer, or recite random verses from memory at the drop of her hat. Her go-to solution for problems is to pray on them; thanks to years of donning the spiritual armour of the Lord. When she is introducing herself, she will say; “I am Mama Junior and Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour.”

3. The disciplinarian

She rules her household with an iron fist. Everyone in the house fears her. Even Baba Junior. She has deadly accuracy with both her hands and with her feet as well; she can throw anything within reach, from plates to books to slippers, with a guarantee that she’ll hit at least a head. She likes to remind her stubborn children that she brought them into the world, and she can take them right out.

4. The ‘tea’ master

Thanks to some strategic friendships and social maneuvering that any politician would envy, this mother has positioned herself within reach of all the estate gossip. Her ears are like satellites, picking up even the faintest hint of gossip. She is always in the loop on what is going on, both in her immediate extended family and the neighbourhood in general. She knows whose husband is sleeping with which househelp, and whose daughter is secretly smoking illicit things.

5. The kitenge collector

She is a sharp dresser. She has an elaborate collection of vitenge, and is so particular about the design and fabric. She has one for every occasion, with matching headgear, a purse and shoes. Anything else is disrespectful. She is constantly telling her daughter that rugged jeans and short skirts are garments of the devil and illuminati.

6. The young, hippie one

Either she had her children very young, or she hit the gym to shed off the baby weight. She has this firm body and looks like she is in her 20s. People always assume her daughter is in fact her younger sister, or her son is her nephew. She is up to date with all the fashion trends, all the cool new music and shows, and she can drink anyone under the table.

7. The expert chef

When she steps into the kitchen, she jokingly refers to it as ‘going into the office’. She is a chef de cuisine in the mold of Gordon Ramsay, regularly whipping up gourmet meals for a family of five, with an extra portion in case someone drops by. She always has a whiff of some spice about her, is always trying out some complicated recipe which involves marinating things for hours and several more hours cooking.

8. The chama organising secretary

She is a powerful figurehead for women in the estate. She is involved in and in charge of so many chamas that she is never home on weekends. She has excellent organisational skills, great accounting skills, and excellent leadership skills. She is also likely to buy a kaplot in Ruaka before her husband.

9. The proud mother

Her children are her greatest source of joy and pride. She has memorised the list of her children’s accomplishments, and she brings them out within seconds of a conversation with other people, even strangers. “This is my son, Mike. Or maybe I should say Doctor Doctor Mike, because he has two PHDs.”

10. The philosopher

She is a huge supporter of the ‘Kufunzwa na ulimwengu’ school of thought. She likes to impart wisdom any chance she gets, and this includes sending forwarded WhatsApp videos, screenshoting Joel Osteen sermons and calling in the middle of the night to remind her children that life is hard. She will interrupt a funny story her son was telling her to lecture him about HIV, and she will not hesitate to pull her daughter aside and advise her on how to keep her husband from straying.

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