By Kalengule Kaoma
Maliko came from a poor family, but he was able to attend a boarding high school. One day his mother visited him, but when two of his fellow students saw the scruffy looking woman, Maliko was embarrassed by her appearance and protested, "That is not my mother! How dare you insult me? I do not have a mad woman for a mother!" And he trotted away.
But Maliko’s mother persisted. She asked one of the students to call him back. Maliko still insisted she was not his mother. "If she is not your mother, how does she know your name?" Maliko’s friend asked. Maliko did not answer. Instead, he threatened his friend.
"Well," said the lady sadly, "then you take this sugar cane and money that I brought for Maliko. Please have them." She went away very sad.
During that term of school, Maliko fractured his leg while playing football. As he recuperated in the hospital, he longed for his mother every day, but honoring his wish that she not embarrass him, she did not come to see him.
The Chewa people of Malawi have this saying: Mako ndi mako; usamuone ku chepa mwendo. "Your mother is still your mother even if one of her legs is shorter than the other."
Maliko learned a hard lesson. Those who despise their origins cut themselves off from those who love them most.
Kalengule Kaoma lives in Zambia and is a mission director for a number of African nations.