And This Is How I Fell In Love . . .

Stories about love always start with the moment lovers meet.  Mine will be somewhat different and somewhat the same.  If that is a contradiction, then so is love.

Recently, I found a new African song to add to my Afrobeats collection, accept, this song is not Afrobeats.  It’s in the form of a traditional Zambian folk song.  Listening to it, I could not explain how deeply I connected with the song.   At first it baffled me.  Until I realized one of the reasons I loved it was because the song is sang in Bemba, an African Bantu language native to the people of Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.   Why is that significant?  Besides them being some of the most beautiful languages in the world, I had a “muscle memory” of those languages (Lingala, Tshiluba, and Kituba).

I remembered.  As a child, my mother used to open the windows to our home, and let the sun pour in while she cleaned the house.  She’d turn on the music and go about singing while we kids played blissfully in and out of doors.  These are some of the best memories of my life.  Besides gospel, she used to play music by African artists.  I remember she had a favorite album she loved to play.  I can’t remember the artists or even the name of the album, because I was so young (Not over 5).  But I do remember there were various artists on that album; from different African nations and they were singing folk songs from Africa.

As a child you pick up certain things–and I remember that one artist was from Ghana and another from Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo).   It was a good memory, of music from Africa as a small, small child.  Always my mother reminding me that, “This is who we are.”

So it all has come full circle to me.  I now realize the music of Africa did not come to me when I visited Ghana; nor as a recent college grad discovering Nollywood along with P-Square and 2Face Idibia, –but in childhood.  It was the songs that my mother would play leaving an indelible print on the mind of a child.  Like the memory of how your father’s beard feels on your face, or the sound of your mothers voice singing as she folds laundry.  The good things in life find us as children, and follow us all the days of our life, like friends, guiding us when we need it.

If you want your children to fall in love right, with the things that matter in life and the values that will guide them through a lifetime.  Start them young to appreciate what is good.  So, I leave you with Umung’o by Wezi ft. Mumba Yachi–a song that made me remember my childhood–and how like a friend it still guides me to the things that matter.

If you love Africa as much as I do, please support my African Journalism Project!


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