Nakuomba Nerea, Usitoe Mimba Yangu We,
Mungu Akileta Mtoto, Analeta Saa ni Yake,
Mlete Ntamlea, Usitoe Mimba Yangu We,
Mungu Akileta Mtoto, Analeta Saa ni Yake…
Many Kenyans are familiar with the above ballad, Nerea by Sauti Sol ft Amos and Josh. But for the sake of my foreign readers, I will translate:
I beseech you Nerea, don’t abort (my baby),
When God gives a baby, he gives it at his own timing,
Bring the baby i will raise it, don’t abort (my baby),
When God gives a baby, he gives it at his own timing…
I’m almost 100% sure by now that my readers who speak English as a first language, have already noticed how much I’m struggling to translate the lyrics from my national language Kiswahili, to my second language, English.
As a matter of fact, I intentionally put “my baby” in brackets as this particular term in the lyrics, has elicited a lot of debate in my country, ever since the song came out this year and quite recently.
Before i carry on, Congratulations Sauti Sol for getting a nomination for the Best International Act: Africa, at this year’s BET Awards. I must admit I was getting a stiff neck from all that craning I was doing, to see whether I could spot an African musician from Africa, at the previous BET Awards among the audience. And the surge of excitement I experienced when I finally spotted Ice Prince from Nigeria in one of the Awards, can’t remember for which year, but very recent actually. Anyways, I could talk all day concerning music and entertainment, my other passion, but first things first.
I mentioned the struggle to translate something from my first language to my second, and with good reason. You see Mimba Yangu translated directly to English comes out as ‘My pregnancy’. Feminists on the other hand, chose to interpret it to mean that these talented gentlemen, were subtly employing a patronizing innuendo, by choosing to refer to a pregnancy as Mimba Yangu. Apparently, it should have been Mimba Yetu or something of the sort to mean ‘Our Pregnancy’.
Let me refresh the memory of Kenyans a little.
In African society, most cultures state clearly that the child belongs to the father, hence Mimba Yangu, in that context is in order. African women on the other hand have been socialized to believe that sex should not be for the enjoyment of the woman and therefore, the culprits behind the consequences of sex, always happen to be men as they are the ones who relish having it. Therefore, it has never been uncommon for mothers to ask their daughters who have unfortunately fallen pregnant at an unintended time, Mimba ni ya nani? (Whose pregnancy is it?)
Of course if the “perpetrator” of the “crime” happened to not be a rascal who believes that he is ready to have unprotected sex and not ready to be a father, and actually admitted that he was responsible for the pregnancy, he will step in and say Mimba ni Yangu (The pregnancy is mine). People only ask Baba ni nani? (Who is the father?) after the baby is already born and perhaps the poor mother still seems unsure of the paternity of her baby.
To be honest, Kenyans in recent times only started aping the `We are pregnant’ announcement after seeing people from the West doing it. And personally, I don’t believe that Sauti Sol and Amos and Josh are at fault for using the term ‘ Mimba Yangu’. We got used to using that term long before these guys came into the music scene. So let’s spare these talented individuals the unnecessary backlash by some.
In the song, the crooners go on to state that the baby could turn out to be a great person and therefore all the more reason for the woman not to abort. Now I very recently stumbled upon a status update from a woman on Social Media, who identified herself as a feminist and chose to bash the examples of great people that Sauti Sol and Amos and Josh had given in the song.
I did not consider her a feminist at all for equally bashing Lupita Nyong’o as an unworthy example of someone, a parent would want her child to grow up to become. And not because Lupita is my fellow country mate and neither because the ‘feminist’ happened to be from a neighboring country. My only concern was, if you claim to be a feminist, then bashing of fellow women and especially women who have made notable strides in life, is out of bounds. You talk of Lupita Nyong’o stripping naked on a movie and therefore condemn her to be a bad example all the while forgetting that Lupita has made other amazing achievements in her life.
Long before we saw her in Hollywood, she had attended drama school, acted in Shuga and directed In My Genes. So for one scene that some people who consider themselves moralists of sorts to use it to trash her achievements, I found it in bad taste. I’m all for feminism for a good cause and not feminism used to judge, belittle and trash what others are doing all because we who claim to be feminists feel superior.
If Lupita had to strip in that movie, 12 years a slave, she did it because she had the confidence to re-enact that. I personally do not have the confidence to do so and therefore cannot point fingers at her for being supposedly trashy and unworthy of being a role model for children aspiring to be her, for doing it. If at all Sauti Sol and Amos and Josh chose to use Lupita Nyong’o in their song as an example, they used her because she has managed to achieved one of the many firsts for an African woman from the African continent. Isn’t that something for young African girls to look up to??
On to the subject of abortion.
I applaud these gentlemen for using music to provoke thought on things that most societies consider taboo. I find it a horrible case of double standards when a section of men, engage in unprotected sex with women they have little regard for. When the inevitable happens, they are the first to suggest an abortion or pull “A Houdini Stunt”.
In such an unfortunate circumstance, when the poor woman feels pressured to the point of abortion, these same men are the ones who shall be pointing fingers at women they come to know have aborted, in future. Totally forgetting that someone had to abort a baby because of them. These are the same men who will stand up and say ” Mimi siwezi kubali mwanamke atoe Mimba Yangu” ( I cannot allow a woman to abort “my baby” ).
Apparently at the time they pushed someone else to abort because they were downright deadbeat then (and still are, only hypocritical), they were perfectly justified in doing so. The “My baby” then had suddenly transformed to the “chic’s problem”. Question is, did she have sex alone and conceive or there were two people involved: a man and a woman?
I’m a strong believer of keeping the pregnancy whether the man is around or not. Forget about whether the child you as a woman are carrying could have potential or not. Even if this child grows up to be a simple cart pusher in the market place, you should keep it because there is no greater blessing than motherhood. And for those who reject parental responsibility, it is only a curse they are placing upon their lives where there was initially a blessing, in the form of a child.
And so no matter what the haters say, Kudos to Nerea by Sauti Sol ft Amos and Josh!