Yesterday, my great-grandmother was put to rest. This is a tribute to her, maybe in a sense my way of saying bye to a woman who gave her life to the cause of the family. Ba Mayo lived life simply and was a strong woman who was quick to embrace her sisters children as her own(they were) aways rushing where she was needed. She embraced her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as her great great grandchild – my Natasha with so much love it was as if she were saturated in it. All her children, except one, who was deaf, were educated, in a time when some did not see the need to educate daughters. She ensured her sons could clean and cook and take care of themselves too.

She was wise beyond words, teaching us to stay united and Always take care of each other. She was a very active woman and very hardworking, rarely ever sitting around doing nothing.  Her and my great-grandfather had a farm with fruit growing that they planted themselves and I remember her coming home and always bringing goodies for us, ifishikulu.

Whenever you visited her, you never left empty handed,regardless of how little or how much she had and, she always made sure you ate. She had no time for nonsense but laughed easily and no matter how busy life got, she always made time for family.

I’ve heard that the people in my family have always lived long and maybe its due to the food they ate and the level of activity in their lives. 12 years ago my great-grandmother could still farm and could still walk 4 kms in under an hour amoung other things.

Ba Mayo always taught us our norms without ever using the words “this is our culture” or “these are our norms”. She taught by just being. You also never wondered what she was thinking, she was always frank and to the point.

Yes, we have lost a treasure but she is at rest and we still have the 4 members of her generation to enjoy life with. I pray for the unity she fought so hard to instil to grow. That is my greatest hope, till God calls us too.

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