Down but not out

man is infallible! In the course of our life-long journey, we are confronted with challenges from which we either stand strong or fall. However, we must learn from such experiences and build ourselves and those coming behind to manage circumstances better. Therefore, I consider it expedient for us all to teach our children and the young ones right from the time their understanding is awakened to cultivate and build resistance against the storms and turbulence that they are likely to be confronted with as they advance in age. According to a popular Yoruba adage, “ti iya nla ba gbe ni sanle kekere a go ri e’’, which can simply be translated to mean that where one falls to big challenges, even smaller ones will make a mincemeat of the person.
Life’s trials and tribulations can and will completely take one out of life’s race if badly managed and on the other hand if properly managed, such trials could become springboards to greatness. Thus, the panacea for success in life is the ability to properly manage challenging situations. Man’s journey is like a marathon: it does not really matter how one starts the race, for some start very strong and others very slow; but what really counts at the end of the day is how and when we finish the race. We have all been witnesses to success stories that began from humble or challenging beginnings. Always a recipe for inspiration!
In course of my regular travels, I observed with great concern, how it seem that white and black people world over, have come to agree that we may never as white and blacks ever live together harmoniously without any animosity or bickering because of our histories. One of these very pathetic historical stories, which I believe is responsible for this disaffection and if not carefully considered would continue to increase the divide between white and black people world over, is the story of the practice of what was called ‘wet nursing’, in the 1600 century during slave trade. It was said that white mistress forced their black female slaves to breastfeed their white babies as they didn’t want to lose their beauty.
Unfortunately, according to history a lot of black children died prematurely because of ‘wet nursing’, as their mothers, the black female slaves were forced to abandon their children so they could properly carter for and breast feed the children of their mistresses. I agree that this practice was extremely callous, but I can’t ignore what I consider the ‘divine involvement’, in this story; the white mistresses willing, or better still, forcefully handed their new born babes to the black slaves to nurture and breastfeed without considering the health consequences of this act and the level of bond that could be established between their children and the adopted black mothers that they themselves made to breastfeed their children.
Apart from several established advantages that come with breastfeeding a child, there are quite a few empirical evidences to show that breastfeeding is a significant part of ensuring there is bonding and love between the mother and the child and this continues years after the child has been weaned. The main point in this for me; is as much as there are several historical facts that we all can hold onto and throw in the towel that there is not the sightless chance for us to completely forgive ourselves as white and black people to live together in harmony, there are also several other historical facts that offers ‘silver lining’, for this possibility. The truth is, history is meant to make us more knowledgeable and wiser not to make us sad, angry and hopeless, so it’s time for the human race to focus on the bright side of the whole story and forge ahead.
As a tradition, we celebrate women on the cover pages of IWA’s March to May editions every year. This edition is not any different. However, the key reason for choosing to feature Jennifer Ririra on the cover page of this edition is her inspiring story. Upon finishing from high school, Jennifer, then 19 and pregnant, was confronted with the challenge of the possible cessation of further education on the one hand as well as the anger and disappointment of her father on the other hand. But determined to make the best of her life, and with her baby she travelled to Tanzania and attended the University of Dar-es-Salaam where she obtained a scholarship to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Education. Thereafter, through scholarship, she pursued her Master’s degree at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. Today Jennifer is a very successful Kenyan business woman, banker, corporate executive and academic! How inspiring!
This edition promises to be as insightful, revealing and exciting as the previous editions, page after page. As you know, our hallmark is to always ensure that we serve you, our distinguished readers, the very best from our stables at all times. Have a pleasurable reading.