Mothers’ Day Tribute: Powerful Ugandan Women Pay Tribute To The Women Who Shaped Their Destinies
My mother was brutally harsh, terribly uncompromising and very demanding. She ran her home like a little barracks; her word was an order that couldn’t be questioned. Each one of us had duties and responsibilities (I am talking 6 years) that you would only fail to perform if you were dead. As long as you were alive you had to see your chores done somehow. Later in life when I watched the movie The Devil Wears Prada, I was convinced that Meryl Streep’s character was modeled on my mother. With just the movement of her eyes she could evoke so much terror and to be smiled upon was an achievement you remembered for a long time.
The first time I saw my mother in the throes of mirth was very shocking and confusing for me; I felt the ground move beneath my feet. Never in my life had I ever seen her laugh. This incident might have been more traumatizing than anything else in my childhood.
But everything she did was justified; she was a widow raising girls in a society that ostracized widows and girls so she had to be fierce.
Away from the rigours of motherhood, my mother is an extraordinary person; smart, honest, independent, business savvy and very hilarious. She was keen on making a difference in our lives and the lives of everyone around her; our home was always filled with relatives and friends that needed a helping hand. We didn’t have much but whatever we had we shared it with those in need.
She is a terrific cook always cooking and feeding whoever crosses her threshold. But most importantly is her faith in God the almighty. She lives and breathes prayer. And I believe that her God has been faithful to her.
That’s the thing with motherhood; it can turn any woman into an Amazonian warrior when she needs to be. Mothers may differ in parenting styles, beliefs and principle but they are united by their inherent, inexhaustible and all powerful love for their children. To celebrate this year’s mother’s day, Shespell.com reached out to some of Uganda’s movers and shakers to pay tribute to their own mothers while discussing their own legacies.
Susan Muhwezi (Senior Presidential Advisor on AGO Uganda, Chairperson of Uganda Hotels Owners Association)
I remember that my mother was always there for me in good and bad times. She is the one person I know I can count on. Her love for me is unconditional. I want my children to remember me as the one person who loves them unconditionally. I want them to know that even when I discipline them, it is out of love and it is for their own good. Their father and I have worked very hard together to educate them, provide for them to the best of our ability. I believe that they will always look at me as their role model just like the way my mother was to me.
Yogi Birigwa (Country director SA Airlines)
My mum is extremely loving, caring and isn’t shaken by life’s ups and downs. She has an infectious positive view on life. She is my champion and my rock. I know I am who I am today because of her. Growing up, my mother put her family first. She went out and did everything but still had enough time to connect with each and every one of us in a deep and meaningful way. When I became a mother I borrowed a leaf from her life and prioritized my family. My two boys always ask how with all the responsibilities and duties I still manage to give them so much attention. But it is all about priorities. I know that my sons consider me a very orderly and organized person. I would like for them to remember that they were my utmost priority next to God.
Edrinnah Vivianne (NSSF)
Well, my mother made me what I am today. She was never rich, but she strived hard to ensure I went to school even if it meant selling her household items to get money for my fees, which happened quite often. In the same spirit, I love my kids and I want the best for them in life. I try as much as possible to provide them with everything they need. When I see them happy, I am happy. I am so attached to my kids that I stopped going out or hanging in the night preferring to stay home with them, do homework, watch cartoons, read bed time stories and games on Google play. Most of my friends know me; I am not a night person. When I go out with the girls, I am always the first to leave. Why? My kids call me and they are like “Mum what time are you coming home, we miss you, we won’t sleep till you come”. You can imagine! I would like them to remember me as a very loving and responsible mum; I work hard every day to ensure they live a decent life.
Halima Namakula (Legendary musician and activist)
If it wasn’t for my mother’s strength and determination, I probably wouldn’t be the phenomenal woman I am today. I want my children to reflect my strength and integrity in their own lives.
Mummy fondly known as MaamaJulie has been a strong pillar to me and the entire family. She is a hardworking woman who taught me that no woman should sit idle. She is very loving and a bit too generous for her own good. She believes in sharing whatever one has. I remember her forcing me to split a groundnut so I could share it with my sister! Today when she harvests a bunch of matooke she will share it with whoever is around even if each one gets only five fingers. Her biggest sacrifice however, was giving up her 20 year old marriage for the sake of her children. When forced to choose, she decided to go for kyeyo in South Africa where she opened up a restaurant serving Ugandan food in order to get money to keep her children in school. I want my children to remember me as the most loving, tolerant, hardworking, God fearing and happiest mother. Julie is married to NBS proprietor Kin Kariisa.
Eva Rukikaire Mwine (Creative Director at Shamaza Clothing Line)
The thing that stands out about my mother is the time she spends in solitude daily and its obvious benefits. Every morning she makes time to be on her own, writing in her journals and talking to her God.
I would like to be remembered as a mother who encouraged her children to be comfortable in their own skins being confident that they are wonderfully and fearfully made by God as opposed to being defined by values and standards of world culture.
Juliana Mukasa Tendo (Manager UBL)
I remember my mother as a God fearing person who loved us unconditionally. It would be awesome if my children felt the same way about me.