I am an African woman. Is it because I was born in Africa or is it because of the color of my skin?
Pray, do tell me what makes me an African woman. Is it my springy kinky hair that just won’t grow as long as I would want it to or is it because of my rather large behind? Maybe I am an African woman because of my knack to cook large meals that could feed nations or perhaps the idea that I can scrub and clean all day and still look after a dozen children? Oh, and lest I forget, I could most probably be an African woman because my husband is yet to “officially” marry me because he cannot afford to raise my bride-price as per tradition.
My mind wanders to my unfulfilled dreams. Do they make me an African woman or am I an African woman because I am only alive in my dreams? I know what I want but cannot do because I should not. I would bring shame to my people. I am an African woman.
I am an African woman because I am an African woman. I thrive in the African sun; I walk with a gait, head held high. I swing my hips to the rhythm of the African drums and raise my sunburnt face to feel the coolness of the first rain drops.
I sing when I’m sad and cry when I’m happy. I reassure the man in my life. I never raise my voice. “A woman’s polite devotion is her greatest beauty”. I discipline and encourage my children. “A stitch in time saves nine” and remember “spare the rod and spoil the child”.
I work hard on the farm because “beauty is an empty calabash,” and I help my neighbors when they need my help since “unity is strength, division is weakness.” I am an African woman.
I go where the wind carries me and I enjoy myself all the way. I know some people deliberate on how I can do better for myself, that I deserve more, but I am a happy woman. I am content. The simple things in life make me happy. The children’s laughter piercing the afternoon stillness could never compare to any opera performance. The “patapata” noise, my husband’s feet make as he returns home after a hard day’s work can never be replaced with the “honk honk” of a limousine coming up the driveway. The coziness and warmth in my home and life cannot be replaced with any generators or air conditioning. I am an African woman.
And as the sun sets, the look in my husband’s eyes as he looks at me before nightfall reminds me yet again that I am an African woman. I do not know why I am an African woman but I know I am an African woman. A proud African woman.