Is it just me that would get absolutely freaked out to be called Mama [insert name of your child]?
Growing up it was the norm to recognise or address certain women not by their own name but that of their child or husband. There were many aunts, neighbours or women I knew in my community who were Mama Elena, Mama Ifeoma, Mama Isaac. Others were Iya Sunday or Nwunye Emmanuel.
Till today many address my Mum through me, (she’s Mama Uju). I bet for a number of those that do they don’t know her first name and if they heard it would look around puzzled asking, “Who’s that?”
It’s a cultural norm that I find both comfortable and wierd. Somewhat comfortable for me because it gives a nod to familiarity, and the way we did things back in the day where community was everything. Wierd because if anyone dared to address me that way now it would freak me out! For one Mama anybody in my mind adds about 20 years at least to whatever age you are, and implies that you are now old. I’m not old (i chant over and over to myself like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz). Secondly, in this age of increasing fight for equality and feminism it seems archaic that I should be known foremost or singly for having produced offspring, and not for myself as a unique individual.
What do you think? Are you comforted by this nod to culture, or glad it’s fading away? Also, I could be wrong. We certainly don’t call people Mama X in the UK, but does this still happen back home?