#withoutmum: The lessons I learnt from my mama

Wednesday May 08 2019

Spacey Kawarach, marketer, Marasa Africa Lodges with Ms Betty Odongkara, her mother

My prayer warrior, Spacey Kawarach, marketer, Marasa Africa Lodges
“My mother Betty Odongkara has been my pillar of strength, friend, comforter and inspiration. I love and respect my father but the commitment from my mother towards shaping me into the woman I am today is not something I can take for granted. Everything good in my life has happened because of her endless prayers.

She is much more than my child’s grandmother; she is another mother who wants my child to succeed. I recall the time when I got pregnant while working with Pearl of Africa Music Awards. Since I was not married (I am still single), I was stressed and had no idea what to tell my family. I gained confidence in my fourth month of the pregnancy, looked straight into her eyes and told her.

I think she noticed how scared I was and gave me a hug. For an African parent, this was a relief. She stood in for me to break the news to my father because I could not face him. From that moment, my mother won my everlasting friendship. I wish her good health, and would like her to live long so that I can also take care of her.

My best muse, Brenda Maraka, fashion designer
To Brenda Maraka, her mother is the best muse. “In my trade, when passion overtakes financial benefits, she cautions me on how to manage and derive financial value from my works of art.

Growing up, I saw my mother Elizabeth Maraka do household fashion, despite her career in finance. Later, I was inspired to take up the art as a profession, and luckily, she joined me as a business partner. I look back to the sacrifices she made so that I could go to school.

She forewent luxuries such as owning a car, fed the family on vegetables for a whole year to make sure I earned an education at both Namasagali College and Trinity College, Nabbingo. There is no way that I can pay her for the sacrifices she made for me to receive formal grooming and training.


I pray that she lives long enough to see her great grandchildren and that is what we always tell her. She deserves to live to a ripe old age to enjoy everything the world has to offer. The bond between me and her is so strong that I still stay at home so that I can see my mother everyday.”

My teacher, Andrew Kyamagero, media personality
“There are two things that are synonymous with mothers; responsibility and respect. I spend most of the time with my 67-year-old mother Rose Nantongo Kirabo because she always reminds me to work hard. She cautions me that no one is going to play my role of being a father and the pivot of everything. She shaped my attitude and taught me to respect women.

“When a woman is talking, always listen and then respond,” she says.
She also told me that a woman should never play the role of being a man. I must be in position to provide, protect and strongly empower the women in my life. This sharpened my thinking and nurtured the way I treat women today.

When I was in Senior Two, I drank juice that nearly killed me. My mother never faltered but showed strength and prayed for my healing. She also warned me against drinking anything from random places. This explains why I always move with my cup or attend events after having a meal at home. My health is my priority and her words resonate with me every day of my life.”

My provider, Jacklene Arinda, host Smart24TV
“Although I lost both my biological parents years before I could enjoy their love, I have someone I can call mum. Mummy Flora shares my misery and has been a good friend. The best part about her is that I can call her at midnight and she will answer my calls.
In 2015 when I finished my university education, I started living on my own, but needed more than shelter, food. A mother’s love is all I yearned for from someone I could confide in. Ironically, I had no financial support and had spent a week in my house without food.

When I called someone I admired as a father figure who promised to extend support, he told some people that Jackie should be on her own because we have played our part. I turned to my mother who immediately bought me food. Mummy Flora treats me like her own daughter and does not look at me as a burden.
Presently, I am staying with her and she continues to inspire and shape me. I wish her good life and thank her for wiping my tears. I pray that God grants me life to give birth to children and raise them because I know what it means growing up without a mother.”

Taught me discipline, Dr Sabrina Kitaka, pediatrician
“My mother Theresa Namuyiiga Bakeera turns 79 this year. She is a retired nurse and worked for more than 40 years before she retired. She was a disciplinarian and an extremely prayerful woman.

She would never take mediocrity and always expected us to follow our tradition, read hard and excel. Our mother taught us honesty, hard work and how to do different household chores. My mother has supported me all through my life and I am forever grateful for her love, encouragement and support. Yes, both my parents were very supportive and made sure that I went to school, was healthy and taught me values that I live by to this date.”

My adviser, Moses Mbogo, director Mozart Pictures
“My mother is everything. I did not grow up with my father because there were conflicts between my mother and father’s other wives. When she got challenges at her work place, she took me to her sister who raised me from the age of two until I completed Primary Seven. When I returned to her, she showered me with the love I had missed for all those years.

Out of much love, she used her house as collateral for a loan to get me my first camera (Nikon D90) worth Shs2m. I promised to settle the loan, but unfortunately, the day I completed the repayment is when they stole my camera. I was devastated, but surprisingly, she called me to her place and gave me Shs3m to purchase another camera. She never disclosed the source of the money because she was broke, but I suspect it was another loan. Thank God! I got two gigs and settled the debt. There is also a time when they robbed me of my possessions.

She called me home and cautioned me that her house was no longer mine. In good faith, she wanted me to face the world because I was in the city to work. Before I got married, she could visit and help me with household chores such as washing my clothes, which is a special thing. Just like all other mothers, I wish her long life, because when she falls sick, I fall sick. My dream is to give her a better life than mine because she is a retired civil servant.”

My fighter, Wilson Omoding Otuna, deputy director of the Counter Terrorism Directorate
“When my father passed on while I was in Primary Three, my mother raised us single-handedly in Katakwi. My polygamous father passed on in 1971 and left six children, among whom I was the first born. His three wives ran away from home upon his death, leaving my mother with all the children. She educated everybody and managed the family business of three shops, but sadly two burned down. My mother also managed the farm until Karimojong rustlers destroyed it.

In the 1980s, I left home and settled in Kachumbala in Bukedea District. The Karimojong attacks worsened and I moved to Soroti to study until I left for Jinja.

During all this time, my mother still provided for me and all my siblings She stood by us to make sure we grow up as fine persons. I will never forget the time of the Karimojong insurgency when she ran with us on foot from Katakwi to Pallisa, a distance of about 150 Kilometres. We had nothing to eat, but she made sure that we stayed together as a family.

I wish God grants her more years to live and see us succeed. Her grandchildren are inspired by her tales of parenting in the 70s and she always makes them laugh with her command of the English language. She is a good mother and wife and still takes care of her late husband’s home with pride.”