Even before I knew my husband, I was in love with Africa.
I taught about the continent for several years and eventually met and married my very own African. Ismael and I have a household that blends America and Africa, Catholicism and Islam, English and French, as well as possible. We are different ethnicities, religions, and people, yet we have come to celebrate our lives together with our son, Adam, who is known as Big Chief by his African grandmother.
My mother in law, Elisabeth, often will cheer her grandchildren with the word Bravo! When I began thinking about this blog, I thought about naming it some version of Bravo Babe… one quick Google search later, I learned that a woman named Heather has already claimed that domain with a blog called “One Fine Hooker.” (relax, it’s all about knitting). So that title was out.
I tossed other ideas around until I formed Halala Mama in my mind. Halala is a South African Zulu word that means Congratulations or Good Job! Now neither Ismael nor I are South African, but I have claimed this word for my own.
To me, it is a joyous word of celebration.
And that is the purpose of my writing – to celebrate life, faith, and motherhood in this American / African family.
Who am I?
I am Janet. A first time mother at the age of 38. A wife to Ismael. A daughter and a sister. A friend. A Catholic school teacher. A housekeeper. A cook. I am so much more than this, but most importantly, I am a mama who is determined to celebrate the best in my life, even amidst my struggles.
My introduction to the word Halala comes from Ladysmith Black Mambazo,a wonderful South African group that incidently is one of Oprah’s favorites. She and I have something in common! The video I have linked to, Halala South Africa, celebrates the Long Walk to Freedom of the African people along with Nelson Mandela through the horrible struggle of apartheid. The song is a mixture of Zulu and English.
Long Walk to Freedom / Halala South Africa – Ladysmith Black Mambazo