Since time immemorial, my mother has never asked me for anything or given me any instructions that I need to honour when she is alive or dead. However, this past weekend, she reiterated the one constant request she has always asked of her only son, me.
In my late teen-years, I would often hear my mother say, “My son can marry from any ethnic group except for the Batswana people.”
Her sentiments on this have always been the same, and I thought they would change with time.
Over the weekend, we had a conversation about the good and the bad of marriage. We looked at what works and what doesn’t work. She told me that she wouldn’t stand or reject someone who has a child. She also wouldn’t be against me marrying someone older and so on. However, she doesn’t want me to bring her a daughter-in-law from the Platinum province, North-West.
She didn’t explicitly give reasons why she disapproves of a Motswana makoti (Setswana-speaking daughter-in-law). Nevertheless, the Christian in me, who upholds Christian values acknowledges that my parents, in my case my mom, is the highest authority in my life. Furthermore, honouring her words and wishes is such a pivotal part of my life.
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I wish she could openly tell me why she has such serious reservations. She has made me date consciously. I have actually dated someone who is Tswana. Needless to say that it didn’t last. However, it wasn’t because of my mom.
I’m actually glad that it ended before I had to actually introduce her to my mother. Lo and behold, it was going to be the biggest test of my relationship with my mother.
Chances are, I would have defied her and defended the one my heart wanted.
The whole disapproval of a Motswana makoti got me thinking… How far are you willing to go in order to honour your parents? And if you are older than I am, how far have you gone just to honour your parents?
I can imagine that some of the things we do out of respect are the same decisions we live to regret later on in life. Is there a wish from any of your parents that you deemed unfair or unreasonable? And did you end up defying them?
The generation I belong to generally labels a lot of things as taboo and we end up doing our own things our way. In my situation, my mother already spoke curses over my life if I am to dishonour her wishes.
She has basically told me that I am not to subscribe to the school of thought that says “The heart wants what it wants.”
Luckily for me, I have always listened to my brains, and my heart follows through.
The past weekend really convinced me that she is adamant about this and no matter what, she is not about to change her mind.
“You can marry any woman of your dreams. She can be from Ethiopia, Malawi, white, Ndebele, umZulu or anything, as long as she is not Tswana, you have my blessings,” my mom elaborated.
I’m not certain if the universe, or God, whatever you perceive him to be would really punish me if I had fallen in love with a Tswana lady and wanted to marry her.
Above all, I thank God that I am in love with a MoPedi lady. Most importantly, I don’t see what my mother is asking of me as unreasonable or unattainable.
I am more than willing to obey and fulfill my mother’s wish of not marrying into a Batswana family.
Kabelo Chabalala is the founder and chairperson of the Young Men Movement (YMM), an organisation that focuses on the reconstruction of the socialisation of boys to create a new cohort of men. Email, firstname.lastname@example.org ; Twitter, @KabeloJay; Facebook,Kabelo Chabalala