My mom and leadership

By Fundiko

My name is Chimanuka. I was born in the DRC South Kivu, Kabare territory, in a village called Mudaka. Mudaka is a small village near Kivu Lake and not so far from Bukavu, the city of South Kivu Province. In my family, there were born ten children, and I was the third born. I used to go to school at Murhesa Primary School and could also help my parents with some housework. I was born in a village where it was right for parents to hit their children. In my village, if you cry, RRyour parents hit you; if you laugh, you are hit; if you say you are hungry, you are hit; if you say you can’t help with the housework, you are hit; if you say you are sick, you are hit; if you say you can’t go to school, you are hit; if you say you feel like you can’t eat, you are hit. I baptized myself with the name ”hitwhenerever.” This name means hit whenever and wherever.  

My mom’s name was Adela, and my father’s name was Kalume. They loved each other, and they both wanted me to have a better life. They both believed that schooling was the only means that could help me improve my life and that of theirs as they grew older. As my father had the desire to see me succeed in my life, he knew that hitting me would be the only way to make me work hard and succeed in my life. On the one hand, my father knew that he was doing this to make me commit. On the other hand, I knew that my father was not helping me in any way. However, I decided to say nothing when my father would hit me.

My mother also loved me a lot, and she also wanted me to have a better life. She used to wake me up early in the morning to prepare me for school because she did not want me to be late for class. She used to do the same for my father so that he could not be late for work. My mother used to love both my dad and me. Early in the morning, my father and I could wake up and find that my mother had already prepared some tea and some cassava for us to eat. We did not have any flasks or electricity. My mom always woke up early in the morning to make a fire and cook for us, but she had never been late. She did not have any watches, but she could go out and look toward the sky and tell us the time. Her watch never lied; it used to tell us the exact time.

My father’s everyday job was to hit me when I made a single mistake. Even when I did not commit any fault, he used to do the same. However, doing this did not stop me from loving my dad. My mom did not like to see my father hitting me; whenever she could see my father hitting me, she would also cry as if she were being hit. Most of the time, my father would hit me and say, ”You should concentrate yourself in class and other activities.” My father used to tell me this, but I did not know what it meant. I knew that concentrating myself meant stopping breathing for a certain time and concentrating my muscles. I thought, this is very hard; no one can be able to concentrate himself for the whole day of classes or a certain activity, and this from Mondays to Fridays. My father was telling me what I did not know, and he failed to make me understand.

One day my mother called me, and she said, ”Do you know why your dad hits you everyday?” I said yes, and my mother asked me again, ”Why?” I said, ”It is because I do not concentrate myself. My mom replied, ”Do you know what concentrating means?” I said yes, and my mother asked me again, ”What does it mean?” I said, ”Stop breathing for a certain time and concentrate the muscles.” My mother laughed. I asked my mom, ”Mum, why do you laugh?” She said, ”I laugh because I am happy, and I am always excited when I am chatting with you.” One day, my mother called me and started doing some housework. She told me to sit down, but she said that I should not disturb her because she was busy. She told me to just sit down and watch what she was doing. After completing her duties, she then told me that we could start chatting. Before we could start chatting, my mother reminded me that my father hits me because I always fail to concentrate on my everyday activities. Then, she explained to me that ”concentrating yourself means focusing on any activity that you are doing and giving it much of your time and energy. ” What I was doing while you were sitting is an example of how one concentrates on a certain activity.” Other moms in my community used to be the teachers of their children, just like my mom. I thought they were all born from the same mother and father because they were doing the same things and behaving in a similar way.

I was content that my mom explained to me the word that made my father hit me a lot. I remember that my mom used to be my teacher. Whenever I would fail a task she assigned to me, she used to come and tell me that we should do the work together and show me what I could do. She sometimes used to show me how to cook, how to slash grass around our plot, how to mop, and even how to wash my own clothes. Then, as I grew up and moved to university, I learned leadership, and more importantly, I learned some styles of leadership, including servant leadership, coaching leadership, situational leadership, and many more. One week later, we took a look at time management. I was very happy to learn that my mom and other women in my village had leadership and time management skills that no father among the fathers in my community had, and I wished for my mom or one of the women in my village to lead the village. I knew they were good leaders, no matter their level of education, physical disability, or many other factors.

26 June, 2023