Maami Sweet Mother

I was in Primary 2 in a small town – Eruku – in Kwara State, where my mum was a young nurse. 

The day was the Inter-House Sports Competition of the popular Commercial Secondary School nicknamed ‘Jaga’. 

The big boys in my house [Babare’s House] all attended the school since it was considered more alpha, beta and prestigious; and had inspired us [the primarians] to follow suit.

I made a promise to myself that when I was eventually through with my primary education, I would end up in Jaga. 

So the day was gay and happy – a perfect day for all of us in the primary school to finally check out our dream secondary school. So we were glad to run parental errands to make sure nothing delayed our experience. 


My mum was cooking in the kitchen with a Butterfly stove [an equivalent of today’s standing gas stove] while I was shuttling between our apartment and the detached kitchen – bringing salt, maggi, pepper, and the rest. 

In one of my sojourns between the room and the kitchen, I scooped a handful of Garri into my mouth. [Garri was usually well-fried and tasty in those days]. 


So I munched the Garri in the room until I heard my name. 


Maaaaaa!!! I screamed back.

I ran to the kitchen with a straight face and pretended nothing happened. 

Mum looked at me and knew something was amiss. 

‘What is in your mouth?’ She asked.

‘Nothing’. Came my reply.

She asked again and my reply came negative. 


Anger flared. 

She took me into the room, locked the door, and beat the hell out of me. 

Overpowered, she took a surgical blade and cut three big marks on the back of my right hand. [She later said she wanted to do one but because of the struggle between us, it turned three]. 

I screamed and writhed in pain, blood flowing freely from my hands. 

Mum left and came back with powdered pepper. 

She overpowered me again and sprayed the pepper powder on the freshly-cut wound. My scream skyrocketed to the high heavens as I painfully wriggled on the floor like a rattlesnake. 


Then she left and came back with TBC. 

A stronger version of iodine. 

She strongly held my hand and emptied a bottle of the substance on it. 

Then I died. 

Well not literally, but for a 7-year-old fatherless boy, what could be worse than this?


A few minutes later, mum knelt beside me, crying.

She carried me in her hand with a fresh burst of tears streaming. Down her eyes. 

She begged and apologized. 

She was frustrated and cheated single mom. 

Her husband died a few years ago and the burden of parenthood fell on her. 


She was tired, angry, and sad.

And lonely. 

And did not want her only son to turn into a thief. 

A small thief emboldened, becomes a big thief. 

She understood that.


Well, that shit worked. 

That was the last day I stole.

And the mark is still on my hand to date. 

My mum saw a snake and killed it on the spot. 

Possessing both the logic of a father and the nurture of a mother. 

And that was how she brought me up.

And today as the world celebrates Fathers, I remember my aging Mum – the values, the discipline, and the sacrifice.

And all my single-mom friends who were prematurely widowed, or abandoned, rejected, abused, and cast out; tiredly juggling between fatherhood and motherhood. We know what you pass through, and it shall not be in vain.


Happy Father’s Day to my Mum, Mama Wale,

In another life, I will still come to you.


Share This

Oliver Thief will mean different things to different people.  

Steal It is stupid, awkward, and junky, probably due to the years of thinking…

Get our Stories ‘as e dey hot’
into your email

Related Stories


The Wind Of Change

The harmattan blew strongly on me as I bent, with my pants pulled down, ‘poo-pooing’


Dele Omo Agunloye

Seeing Dele’s campaign poster came back with a lot of nostalgic memoirs. I mused deeply

Steal It is stupid, awkward, and junky, probably due to the years of thinking…

Steal It is stupid, awkward, and junky, probably due to the years of thinking…

Get Our Stories ‘As E Dey Hot’ Into Your Email