Mothers' Handbook

Online information which is as abundant as a room’s natural noise, robs kids of their inheritance: parental wisdom.  Young people know more than their parents because they are the largest consumers of print and video online content, facts, figures and fake news.

The joy of fiction is the discovery that mothers, the world over, tend to have the same wisdom, based on experience.  Parental handbooks might vary here and there because of culture and religion, but overall, they are the same.   Mama had such a handbook she used to raise us.
The first wisdom on the list is based on how ama-Zulu lived on their vast land, before the British invasion.  There were no hotels, let alone trains or busses.  Travellers used to knock on the next available homestead and ask for a place to sleep.

They were given food and shelter.  Their hosts could be the ones knocking on someone’s door, somewhere else in the future.  That was the universal custom and there are idioms that stress the importance of travellers.  This is all impractical now because money and Hollywood murder she wrote scripts, changed us into beasts, but mama still believed in cooking more, just in case.

·         Leave some food in the pot in case visitors or relatives drop by at night.

·         Wear clean underwear. You’ll be hit by a car and taken to hospital.

·         Clean the house before you go to school.  You’ll faint and the teacher will ask your friends to bring you home.

·         Light the stove (coal stove).  It warms the whole house.

·         Bake something.  It makes the house homely.

·         You are a girl.  You can’t be asleep at this time.

·         Bring gifts for all kids living under one roof (her roof), not just for your brothers and sisters.  How would a child feel when others are trying on things, and he didn’t get any?

·         Don’t give my kids bread.  It is not food.  Cook something.  Unfair comment though, because I’m also her child.  Being the first born is harsh.

·         Put money away for a rainy day. 

·         Visit your people, (dad's family).  I have my own people (who share her maiden name).

·         Marry a man who loves you, not the one you love.

·         Do everything they do at your in-laws.

By:  Nonqaba waka Msimang.


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