A tribute to mamo’mdala Maria Zondo
We Africans have many mothers. Old mothers and young mothers and it will take an African like me to understand the whole symmetrics.
In my mother’s family they were ten siblings and my mother was second last.
High up in the hierarchy as the fourth child was mamo’mdala Maria. Records say she was born on the 14th of September 1938 to Nhlanganiso Zondo and Jessie Manholo Sibanda.
On Saturday 30th July 2016 around 0300hours mamo’mdala Maria breathed her last. She died. She was 88.
My ealiest memories in the early eighties hinge on that she owned the first American fridge in the whole clan and this novelty was worth a 15 kilometres trip to Pumula East from Luveve every Saturday by yours truly and his sidekick Zibusiso.
Without fail every Saturday that we got there the fridge would be switched off and defrosted so that we could feast on the ice blocks like water melons !!!
Years later as she aged, she became the matriarch of my mother’s clan. We had a love hate relationship that always ended with her smiling in a manner that even reflected in her eyes.
I remember that she christened me Ndabezinhle (good news) and that name never made it to my birth certificate.
I remember when she fought me tooth and nail about a decision I had taken that she swore was wrong and she believed was going to haunt me. I thought she would never talk to me again, was I wrong…!!! Three months later I walked into her at my mother’s home and tensed recalling our fight and braced for another barrage of missiles.
I was embarrassed. No mention of the incident. No grumpy talk. She was her old self. Water under the bridge though she didn’t miss a chance to tell me that she still did not support my decision but that didn’t change the fact that I was her child ( remember Africans and many mothers?)
Fast forward to her last two weeks. At my last visit to her I promised her a road runner (another African issue) and was supposed to bring it midday Saturday 30th July. And early that morning she left without the promised chicken.
As I remember her, I have this image of her mounting the last step to the Pearl Gates, stopping to catch her breath by stooping and holding her knees and then straightening a minute later to behold St Peter lowering his bifocals to his nose to verify if it was really mamo’mdala Maria.
I see him handing her an arrivals slip and a full roasted chicken with a message :
Mamo’mdala Maria. You forgot your takeaway meal in your haste to answer the Pearl gates bell. I fried it to your liking and didn’t include the feet and gizzard as per your preference.
Happy journeying mamo’mdala.
Ndabezinhle aka Nqobile
I see her smiling in memory of the little boy she used to call fana (boy) who forty years later she was calling baba (father).
May your soul rest in eternal peace mamo’mdala.