For South Africans, storytelling is an integral part of preserving history. Being part of a panel to review an important publication featuring the stories of ordinary women – and the women who influenced them – has therefore been a humbling experience for Management and Entrepreneurship lecturer Lindiwe Kunene.
The book, Tell Your Mother’s Stories – A Tribute to Women of the World, edited by Dr Kogie Archary was launched on Mandela Day as part of an oral history awareness and fundraiser project commissioned by the Oral History Association of South Africa, a product of the Department of Arts and Culture.
In this book, the writers, who are ordinary South African men and women, explore the various stages of life and its different themes. These stages include: experiences from birth to two years; early life relating to school, friends, family and life in general under apartheid; the teenage years and difficulties with peer pressure, cultural disputes and moral challenges; young adult life under apartheid, and marriage, children and extended family life. A final category takes a look at life at present and hopes for the future.
Kunene said the stories are diverse and informative and are based upon the unique tapestries that define what it means to be a woman and a mother in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region of Africa.
‘The stories do not shy away from topics that are painful such as rape, abuse, race and abject poverty,’ she said.
‘Neither do they pretend that there are no economic inequalities. I was particularly drawn to the narrative of socialisation affecting the future of children. The importance of mothers in society and in a family reverberates as girl children in turn become mothers to their own children, often transcending blood relations and extending their ties into their communities.’
Speaking on the role of academia in contributing to this National Oral History Programme, Kunene said the publication is extremely important in promoting a decolonised socialisation framework.
‘In my field of entrepreneurship development, the role of a parent’s influence is vital as we explore the meaning and effects of entrepreneurship intention. Often, a Eurocentric perspective is emphasised and assumed for the rest of the world. Never before has there been an account showing the direct impact that African mothers have in moulding intention development in their children,’ said Kunene.
As an African woman, Kunene said working on the book resonated with her as she could relate to most of the experiences shared in it because of the women in her own life and those in her society.
‘These women create a new world in which they encompass so many roles. It is important to acknowledge their uniqueness as it speaks to an Africa of the future where mothers are one of the key stakeholders of development and have an influence that moulds the future of society.’
Books are on sale @ R150 per copy and are available by contacting Dr Archary on or on WhatsApp 072 856 1988. Place your orders with Payment to Absa Bank, Pretoria, Account Holder _ Oral History Association South Africa, Account number 406 782 6673. Forward proof of payment to Dr Archary. OHASA will shortly upload a call for submission of stories for Volume 4. The due date for submission of stories is 28 February 2021 as the launch will take place in May 2021, in celebration of Africa Month. To learn more about OHASA, visit their website:www.ohasa.org.za)