What it feels like to be raised by an African mother.


African mother

I was on a forum the other day, and a discussion came up – People who wanted to get further acquainted with African culture were trying to find out what it felt like to be raised by an African mother.

Here are the highlights of the discussion – Feel free to add any experience you feel that we have left out.

  • Kids get whipped. That is basic.
  • She uses a piece of cloth commonly called a wrapper to carry you about until you can walk unaided
  • The mother runs the house and you had better learn this early. There’s a very high likelihood that your Dad will back her up if you get into trouble.
  • You get whipped if you don’t eat your veggies or any food she puts on the table.
  • Older kids are expected to take care of younger kids and if the mum comes back to find an unpalatable situation, the whipping is communally shared by all kids.
  • It’s always better to take the whipping immediately; running away only increases the degree of your crime.
  • Endless fountain of stories and tales. Telling moonlight tales, especially when the power goes out, is a common occurrence in many African homes.
  • Stealing a bite of something delicious left in the kitchen is a sure way to have a bad night.
  • In general, stealing is worse than any other crime you might commit. You will be “returned to factory settings” with the nearest available whip.
  • Educated moms tend to take school homework seriously and in many cases, you do receive some level of homeschooling at the earlier stages.
  • If someone comes to lay a complaint against you, it’s cultural for your mother to sometimes chastise you publicly and then comfort you privately.
  • If however, it’s something major, expect the opposite. She’ll stand her ground and protect you but whip your brains out when you get home.
  • Sign Language: African mothers communicate through sign language – This leads to the next point.
  • When offered sweets/food during a courtesy visit, it is wise to look in the direction of your mother and receive the all-clear (friendly smile) or the try-that-and-die stare.
  • If she suddenly stops in the hallway and stares at you, make sure you instantly try to remember what chore or errand is left hanging.
  • When you’re having a “planned” whooping ass session, you’re responsible for getting the decided item your ass is going to get whooped with. This is a trick. If you get something too small, they’ll get a bigger one. There’s a technique to getting the right size whooping item.
  • No matter where you’re going, your mother will lather you in cocoa butter until you’re shining like you sweat oil.

Being raised by an African mum, there is a pretty good chance you will never ever throw a tantrum in her presence, much less direct it at her. That just doesn’t fly. It would very likely earn you a slap across the face – a hot one! Whatever your objections to a situation, you will very humbly state them (if at all) taking great care not to annoy her in the process.

Your mother is most commonly known by your name if you are her first born child. Ex. Mama Tom or Mama Lydia. You and your siblings may never know her given name until you have to fill out a form at the end of your primary school.

The love is immense. African parents like my mum are more than willing to make countless sacrifices just to make you comfortable and achieve much more than they did. many of us aren’t/weren’t very chatty with our folks. Myself for example. They send us to schools, admonish us to study hard and be diligent and stuff. But I don’t come home telling my mother about some girl I have a crush on or how I don’t have many friends in school. They just offer general advice and expect you to handle your business. In some way it makes you tough. African mothers generally don’t smother their children.

When your dad beats you, she would probably save you or try to cure you after the damage. [The irony] .. Last but not the least – African mums are so fond of their children, they generally don’t leave home until they get married..


Those are the few collections so far – If you have any to add feel free to comment below

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  • Murani

    Ahhhh – Childhood in an African home – Very exciting – the folk tales, watching your mum and aunty cook together – the food – the last born child being over pampered – Oh i love our culture