IT’S FIVE DAYS since I read this book, but it feels as if I read it just a minute ago. Images of Nyamishana, Turyasingura, Tayebwa, Suzan and other characters still linger in my mind. This is how convincing the fiction story of Tears of My Mother is.
Published in Kampala by World of Inspiration, this 140-page book has something new that many East African fiction works either lack completely or have less of. That is positivity. This is possibly the first inspirational book I have read that is in fiction form – so you can either call it a novel or a motivational book. Up to you.
The theme of hope cuts across the story. Hannah, Nyamishana’s mother, stays in marriage for 40 years without a baby and in all these years she never loses hope but rather keeps her faith and one day it pays off.
Though she expected a boy, Hannah brings forth a girl and calls her Nyamishana, a name that means, in Kinyankore, one who brings sunshine. She resolves to parent her like a boy and indeed Nyamishana grows to become fearless despite her high sense of morality. The fireplace becomes her first classroom and at an early age she learns positive thinking. Her mother gives her seven statements to confess daily: “One day I will become a success story! One day, I will dine with princes and princesses! One day, the whole nation will be proud of me! One day I will become a heroine! One day I will save my people from agony! One day, Uganda will rise and shine!”
As a mature woman, Nyamishana faces many challenges, including abandonment from her husband Ben, unemployment and poverty. But through all this she sticks to her moral principles. A graduate of Music Dance and Drama (MDD), she later discovers her talents in writing and public speaking which she uses to inspire and change society. She becomes a darling of the masses but her activism inevitably leads her into clashes with some evil-minded businessmen and politicians who still want a corrupt system and she ends up in jail on life imprisonment.
If success has a definition, then Nyamishana, fulfils that definition. She rises from dust and emerges as a champion. Most of the key problems enchaining Africa come out in the story and the author tactfully shows how wisely she (as well as other protagonists in the story) deals with each challenge. The story brings out women’s unmatchable potential that can be used in the development process of any country.
Full of suspense, tension, surprises, intrigue, emotional moments and celebration, the story Tears of my Mother is action-packed and entertaining. If you are seeking inspiration to achieve your dreams, this is the book for you. If you love humour, then the character of Kay the will make your day.
As I read this book I recalled my secondary school literature lessons and imagined how it would have been beautiful to have had such a book on the syllabus so that I could write an essay about a character such as that of Ruth, the typical campus girl of today and that of Nyamishana, the heroine that we all wish could be our mother, sister or daughter.
Tears of My Mother is set to be launched on Wednesday, March 6, at the National Theatre in Kampala. A copy will go for Rwf5,000. The book will soon be available in all leading bookshops in East African cities. Well, that’s according to the publishers.