Sisterhood was a girl’s only event at CITAM Valley Road. To me, it is one of the signs that African redemption lies in the hands of the sisterhood. I am strongly convinced that the African redemption lies in the hands of the sisterhood that is made up of the African guild.
Do not be fooled.
The women’s guild I am talking about is not a religious women’s group where women possibly gather to:-
- pray for each other
- share testimonies
- exchange contacts of the best academy to enroll their children
- pass information about the best beauty parlor
- learn where to get discounted shopping, and probably,
- talk behind each other’s backs.
Because the challenges facing the African woman is not unique to any particular group of women, I believe the voice of women can only be heard when they start reading from the same script.
African redemption lies in the hands of the sisterhood
When I was growing up, women in our village fell in these categories:-
- Daughters living at home with their children after failed marriages
- Daughters with children born out of wedlock
- Married women who were temporarily single because their husbands were away in the city
There was one common thread with all these women. Much as these women faced with the same challenges of bringing up children on their own, and needed help from men, they were not reading from the same script. Instead, they thought they were strong enough and capable of getting the job done – alone!
This made us – both the boy and girl child – to believe there were no good men to take care of a family. As a result, we were left to fend for ourselves and learn from our own mistakes, which had dire consequences.
Young men were dying in our village, right, left and centre as the HIV-scourge swept across Luo Nyanza. It was like Lucky Dube’s prophecy about ‘people dying like flies’ in Crazy World had manifested itself. The young men left young widows who did not need to hang up ‘an inheritor wanted’ sign on their doorpost. Ironically, young boys ended up inheriting these widows and not our fathers!
Meanwhile this is what was happening:-
- The few good men in the village kept quiet
- Hundreds of women gathered in church singing ‘tukutendereza’
- Young people thirsted for a hero to rescue them
- Suddenly the whole village stopped taking care of one child, and with time all children
I discovered women were their own worst enemies long before I even knew the meaning of this mind-boggling statement. It was not the men who demanded a widow should get inherited but – you guessed it right – women! I was so confused when I discovered this.
How can women be their own worst enemies when they help each other through chamas?
- women keep quiet when injustice is done
- They pray and hope someone else when get the job done
- They worship those in leadership positions
- Their desire to see their own children sit in high places
- They fail to hold their husbands accountable
The role of the African women’s guild
A good place to start from is teaching children to be responsible. Mothers should also teach their children how to share what they have and possess without leaving anyone behind. They should fight to uplift the status of a woman who has just come out of prison. They should support the widow to be in a position to fend for herself instead of pointing her to the relief office where all she will get is handouts.
The sisterhood should allow their sons and daughters to marry any man who is eligible without demanding their daughters bring their own kind. They should demand for accountability from their husbands and seek to point them in the right direction. They should also seek to change generational narratives – be they from the Bible, education, history, religion, tribe or otherwise. By doing so, our sons and daughters will be able to empower future Bathshebas and save King David’s kingdom instead of backbiting the woman at the well.
Women married to powerful politicians, corporate leaders and church ministers will be able to admonish their husbands instead of praying for success and the downfall of their husband’s frenemies. Our sons will start treating women, children and each other with respect. They will become more honest, committed, loving, compassionate, caring and empathetic husbands, fathers and guardians to women and children who need a father figure.
No specific tribe or race would want to rise to a position of power in order to alienate other specific groups of people. Everyone will exude genuine love towards each other and therefore share resources and the gifts that God has given them. Every region will be empowered to maximize the potential and natural resources within the locality. Most definitely, there would be no Blood Diamonds.
I think this is what the likes of Pastor Kathy Kiuna and other like-minded women have been trying to pass on to the next woman. It is also the inspiration behind having Pastor Lucinda Dooley hold Sisterhood conferences. As congregations will be gathering as the African Body of Christ, tomorrow and the many Sundays to come, I believe African redemption lies in the hands of the sisterhood.
For that to happen, African women should start doing the following things:-
- treating each other with respect
- genuine care for single women, widows and orphans
- encourage their husbands to volunteer in Sunday School and Teens Church
- sign up your son or daughter into our mentoring and coaching program
James Ouma is a CTI Clarity Coach, Cyclist and Writer. He is passionate about positive masculinity and helping incarcerated male teens to reconcile with their families and their communities. He loves staring at his bicycle, flipping through movies without watching them, and playing ‘tap out’ with his wife.