At around midday, after a long journey from Kampala, we reached Kasawo village in Mukono district. A lot of children were out, most of them sitting around and others passing by.
Inside, preparations for a very big dish were done and each child whose name was called upon, would join in and receive a plate, take it away and start to eat. All children would be called upon and the same process would apply in an orderly manner.
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You might think that we visited a whole boarding school, and it’s almost the same case if you look how they live, but we were not at any school, but at the home of Ms Marium Natabanzi.
Watch the video below:
This woman is probably one of the most known people in her village but when we were heading to her home, we struggled to spot her compound even if we were sure that we were asking the right person, using the right names.
It was until someone guessed her and told us her real names, in which everyone in her village knows her for. “Her real name is Mama Uganda or Mama Africa,” a stranger told us.
When we finally met, and recounting how we struggled to reach her home, the smiling Mama Africa replied that “There are many people that don’t know my name, they choose to call me Mother Uganda or Mother Africa.”
She is Mama Uganda because of a reason, she is one the least mother to give birth to 44 healthy children. A study in the United States stated that in a lifetime, a woman can have at least between 15 to 30 children. But Marium is built differently, and that’s why what she did was considered as a miracle, since she literally defied all odds and proven science wrong.
But her journey has not been an easy one. She first married when she was just 13, after her father remarried another wife, replacing his first one who had d**ed.
The stepmother was a monstrous parent who killed Mama Uganda’s siblings, and she survived at the bare luck herself. Her father then sold her to a 57 years old man who already had four wives.
Mama Africa remembers such hard times and regrets them.
“I was never happy in my marriage because I didn’t even have to choose my husband. My father sent me to an old man when I was 13 years old. That man already had four other wives and I was the fifth.”
She regrets it because she lost many opportunities including education, as she is an illiterate who cannot read nor write. When she receives a message, no matter how secretive it is, she has to invite one of her children to read it for her.
To make matters worse, her former husband had abandoned her. Today she lives alone taking care of her children, whom most are still very young at five years old. Her oldest daughter is 25 years old and has completely vanished from the family. She is said to live in Colombia, even though nobody can confirm it, but she was a backbone of her family since she graduated from medical school.
And Mama Uganda is extremely committed to the education of her children, and none of her children who are out of the school. She believes that even if she missed out on this big advantage in life, her children should have an opportunity to make their lives better and education is the foundation.
Her dedication to raise disciplined children is confirmed by the teacher of some of her children who said that they are generally disciplined and well mannered, which proves her efforts to raise good children.
His oldest son, Atim Waswa who is 23, told us how he
“has never seen a brave woman like my mother, we respect her a lot and love her to d**ath.”
If a good opportunity arises, Mama Africa is still willing to give birth to other children, given that doctors have asked her to do so as much as she can, for it is much better for her overall health. She had tried to use contraceptives in order to reduce the number of children she gives birth to, but it didn’t work out.
The condition for the prospective candidates is quite simple, it is simply to take responsibility to raise the children, she said.
“Why not if I have a chance to meet a good man and I would be glad to give birth to more babies because giving birth is not bad, but a man whom you have a baby with. Every man wants to have babies but leaves alone to raise children. Only if I find a responsible man, then I would think about having another baby. But if I find an understanding man, I will give birth again,” she said.
Even in her family, Mama Africa isn’t the only one to give birth to many wives. Her father had 52 children while her grandfather had some 255 known children.
Mama Africa had initially wished to give birth to seven children, of whom five of them would be renamed after her brothers who were k**lled by her stepmother, while another one would take her name and her husband’s name to the last child.
But in her first two pregnancies, she had already had seven children. Triplets were the only time she gave birth to fewer children at once.
Feodor Vassilyev, a Russian woman of the 19th century, is the one with the World’s record of giving birth to many children. She was believed to have given birth to 69 children, birthed in 27 pregnancies.