Written by: Faith Oneya
When I was about ten years old, my mother made me sing bare chested in front of the whole school during a music festival. My original idea had been to wear a P.E T-shirt, bikers, sisal skirt and flywhisk but my mother’s words were: “That t-shirt is not traditional enough. Lose it.” I was on the brink of adolescence and knew what was happening to my chest was not just random bumps. I pointed this out to my mother but her response was: “There is nothing there for anyone to see.” Suffice it to say that I went up on stage and faced over 400 people bare chested because my mother said so!
For the children that grew up in the age where punishing your child was not a matter decided by the state, mothers ruled households with literally iron fists. The mother’s words were often law as fathers were easily recruited to do as the mother pleased (for the sake of peace). Literary Chronicles rounded up a few people(who turned out really well in their different professions, my I add) to get their stories of the craziest things their mothers ever made them do!
“My mother used to make me wash my very old grandmother whenever we went upcountry. I hated that task. I have never outlived that memory!”-A mother of two
“Once, I switched the sugar in the bowl with salt. My mother heaped salt in her tea unknowingly and after the discovery upon the first sip, she made me drink the whole concoction to the last drop!”-Preparatory school teacher
“Once on Christmas day, my mother made me wash the whole house…I scrubbed the whole house upside down as my sister and brothers enjoyed their Christmas goodies!”-Banker
“For punishments, my mother would make us choose the cane to be used…woe unto you if you picked a thin cane, it would be broken on your body before you set out to get an appropriate cane!” –Basket baller
“Mum used to make a whole sufuria of mandazis so we could eat them for the whole week. One day my sister and I sat down on the verandah intent on finishing the whole sufuria. When my mother found us, she kept asking threateningly: “Are you satisfied mumetosheka?” and we ate and ate. She did not lift a finger on us. What she lifted was a plate of ugali and kunde (a type of vegetable) to feed a small army or classroom of high school boys and asked us to eat. Of course we couldn’t. That is when the cane came out…”-Educator
“My mother used to lock me and my brother up in the dog kennel because we ‘behave liked dogs and belonged with dogs’…lucky for us the dog loved us. I am not sure what this punishment borders on but we laugh about it now!”-Call Centre Agent
What is the craziest thing your mother ever made you do?