The day he looked at me and told me I have HIV, I remember looking at myself as life was drained out of me. My Childhood ambition was to be a mom…I’d played at it all those years patiently waiting to end the game when my little Ntuthuko would come.

Whether boy or girl I you’d bring change. But that day you died inside of me. My ignorance terminated all hope of you. Your carcass re-incarnated and mutilated as I read my African female heroine’s account of how HIV rendered me an unfit mother.

But today I felt your tiny feet pound in defiance of all those voices. A thud so powerful, as a bubble erupted from beyond my belly but the reverberating in my soul. Even with HIV you’d be honoured to be reared by such a well-trained mother.

Your desperate cry demanding response from the only mother fit to comfort you, was a call for me. How it resounded with audacious defiance to what any other voice dared to speak – not even my heroine’s condescending remarks could smother your boldness.
You have faith in me, your mother. A mother well trained by years of play, obtaining cum laude postgraduate qualification as a member of an African society, where you sowed the same maternal affection that generations have been reared on.

How dare they say you are not a mother, birth isn’t the path of rite that endowed you with the venerable title- mama, it is epitomised in who and how you are towards every child within your influence that has you rightly esteemed as mama.

Your belly might not have stretched to accommodate growing limbs but what about the limbs you spared placing yourself in harm’s way so that I – an absolute stranger – could live. Your affirmations placed on repeat, as I strive towards a destiny greater than the reality I was born into, cradled me through dark days when all that was inside of me beckoned me to cave in, so how dare they say that you are not a mother!

Happy Mothers’ day, mama