By Mwizenge S. Tembo, Ph. D.
Emeritus Professor of Sociology
When my 88-year-old mother passed away in 2018, I was grieving for weeks and months. The woman who had given birth to, cuddled, nurtured, and fed my 8 siblings and I was gone from this earth. I had known her in my life for 58 years. Her sweet soulful voice was going to be with me for the rest of my life even though she was physically gone. She had done so much in nurturing and guiding me that it was priceless. How could I ever thank her?
Grief and deep pain are at their worst the first minute, hours, days, and perhaps even weeks after a beloved one is gone. But then miraculously the deep festering wound in your heart that grief inflicts begins to congeal and heal along the edges. I badly wanted to thank my dear departed mother. I gradually realized that 8 years earlier in 2010, I had thought of writing all my mother’s sayings when I was growing up with my 9 siblings. This is how I came to write the book: “Sayings of my Mother”. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CNRBR8VY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3G4T2R71JLX7R&keywords=mwizenge+tembo&qid=1700602394&sprefix=mwizenge+tembo+%2Caps%2C60&sr=8-1
Pensulo Publishers in Lusaka in Zambia have published the book.
The book has 24 selected sayings. Two Examples of some of the sayings are: “Saying 1. Mwana wolela nge nibotolo yayi(You do not raise a child like they are a delicate glass bottle)” “Saying 3. Kurya nge unamino pasingo (Don’t eat as though you have teeth in your throat)”. Writing the book was a labor of love. I had zero expectations that anyone else beyond my immediate family of siblings, young nephews and nieces would find the lofty sayings interesting. What stunned me was the raving reviews of the book and the sayings from more than half a dozen top and respected academics, cultural activists, men and women, renowned, and young budding writers. The book and the sayings seem to have hit a chord. I suspect that it is because we all have or have had mothers. Some of you are mothers right now. The sayings might echo some of the common sayings from mothers both in Zambia and all over the world.
It just occurred to me that readers may be interested in the Sayings of my Mother. As a matter of fact, the book is not only a thank you to my mother during this Thanksgiving holiday, but you can use some of the sayings to celebrate your mother who is living and those mothers that have passed. My thinking from earlier in the year was to publish the book and let it be a special celebration for both my mother, motherhood, and all mothers. I cannot understand why and how the “Sayings of my Mother” has suddenly transformed to an appropriate Thanksgiving and Christmas or holiday celebration of all mothers and motherhood.
Brief discourses following each of the 24 sayings include allusions to and brief applications of the sayings to life, sprinklings of cultural sociology, evolutionary anthropological concepts, motherhood, and kulanga Tumbuka Zambian/African language term or what is called counselling in Western epistemology. Nothing is heavy in the book because I deliberately wrote the book so that it is light and meaningful reading that appeals to the soul of motherhood and what it means to be a mother. The book is readable for everyone.
Out of the blue, Mr. Merle Wenger of the Harrisonburg Unitarian Universalist Church invited me to give a Sunday sermon to the congregation. You are welcome to attend the sermon on Sunday November 26 at 11:00am at 4101 Rawley Pike, Harrisonburg, VA 22801. If you cannot attend physically you can attend via Zoom. I regarded the unexpected request as an invitation from God and a blessing as that will be an opportunity for me to thank my mother during this Thanksgiving and celebrate her life and the lives of all mothers. I will share the intimate story of this ordinary woman who performed extraordinary things in my life and the lives of others. My mother was born in 1930. Never went to school because girls were not allowed to go to school during that time. This may be true for many or most mothers of her generation in Zambia in the then British Colonial Northern Rhodesia in Eastern Zambia in Southern Africa.
The book has been published and is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CNRBR8VY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3G4T2R71JLX7R&keywords=mwizenge+tembo&qid=1700602394&sprefix=mwizenge+tembo+%2Caps%2C60&sr=8-1
Since there will be very limited signed copies of the book when they become available, please reserve a copy of the book early so you do not miss out. Send your reserve request to [email protected].