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My Mother, Murjanah

March 16, 2012


My Mother

My Mother, Murjanah, was married to my father when she was 16 years. He was 4 times her age and already had 3 wives. She did not want the marriage because she believed she would be widowed early in life but she later had to agree to it out of respect for her parents.

My father died about 5 years after the marriage. The outcome of their union was 3 children: my big sister, my junior brother and me.

After my father died, my mother had to go back to where she was married from. It did not take more than 5 months and another husband was arranged for her. He was twice her age and an herbalist (he practiced herbal medicine for people for almost free and he was not rich).

Again, out of respect for her parents, she agreed to the marriage and it took place in no time. Even though it was an arranged marriage, my mother had a wonderful relationship with my stepfather and I respect my mom for that.

She later had 6 more children with my stepfather but 4 died and 2 lived. Last year in May, my stepfather also passed away after being together with my mom for about 20 years.

My point here is that my mother never had the opportunity to choose the kind of man she wanted for herself because her parents always made that choice for her. So committed, she never felt like leaving the marriage behind.

During her days as a teenager, many others would run away from home because of arranged, unwanted marriages but my mother told me she never had that in mind, even though she didn't like the idea.

And you know the most fascinating part of this story? She was given out as a gift to both husbands and no penny was collected, no bride price, I mean nothing.

My mother showed strength in holding onto her arranged marriage. She could go more than a week without any money from my step dad and she understood that because she knew if he had more, he would have given it to her.

She showed patience and would use the little money she received from her petty trading to cook for the family, not only for our stepfather and us, but for his relatives as well because all were living in the same household.

Murjanah is a mother I am proud of and I will forever be proud of. We might have had some misunderstandings in the past but I love her for her.

My Mom is what I term the strong and true African woman; very dark in complexion and beautiful looking. Her hair is thick, dark and long but you would hardly ever see it unless you are in the room with her because she covers it with a veil when she goes outside.

Again her name is Murjanah and the meaning is SMALL PEARL. I will love her until the end of time.

--- Copyright © 2012 Zakiyu Iddris Tandunayir

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