A Place of Honor

Grandparents in Africa are highly respected and are the role models for the youth.   Grandparents protect, promote and pass on our heritage. The wisdom of African grandparents are highly treasured as they carry timeless values, truth and morals.  

Grandparents are role models bridging the gap between past traditions and modern influences.  They provide the stability and support for their families.  To honor grandparents is to honor God -- bringing blessings into the home.

Grandmothers among the Kikuyu are known as Cucu (pronounced sho-sho), among the Luo “Nyanya”, in Malawi “Gogo”.  The doubling of the first syllable symbolizes the concept of duplicating generations.

 Four ladies at Amani Kenya shared their memories of and experience as grandmothers for this special day!

Joyce Kadesia

What role does a cucu play in African society?

They teach us ancient stories on our origin,  different meanings of social gatherings and how we should celebrate them, how to raise up kids well, how to give and share, how to live as a community and value one another, and how to solve disputes.

How does your family view you as a cucu?

They are very happy to see me as their cucu! They think I have a lot to tell about life. They usually say I have the best advice. They see me as someone who makes them happy by giving gifts.

What kind of influence do you have as a grandparent?

I lead them on showing good behaviours, good company as they know most of my friends. I would like them to grow up loving one another as a family. I do try to bring my family as one.

What do you enjoy most about being a cucu?

I feel blessed because I have more hands to help me with work. I can’t be bored because they have many questions to ask! I eat with them, I have stories with them. I hold their hands when we are going to church or other places.

Have you ever given advice to a grandchild? 

Yes and I continue to do it. The first time [my grandson] was joining boarding school, I talked to him about being content with what he has. I told him to avoid bad company. And above all, to pray to God.

How do you pray for your grandchildren?

To be God fearing, guide them in their school work for good marks. To bless them with a heart of obedience towards their parents and teachers.

Elizabeth Njeri

What role does a cucu play in African society?

Many roles: She is our guider, as she guides young mothers. Gives advice based on her experience. Taking care of grandchildren by making them happy. Bringing the family together. Grandmothers are very important as it shows where we have come from.

How does your family view you as a cucu?

Most of the times they think that I have all the answers to what’s going on. When we lack something especially the basic needs they know that I will be able to provide. They also see me as a mediator, when there is a disagreement as I usually bring them together.

What kind of influence do you have as a grandparent?

Advise my grandchildren on growing up to be good children. I should have an understanding for good direction in their lives. I should be able to correct their mistakes without taking sides.

What do you enjoy most about being a cucu?

I feel happy having seen them at the beginning of their lives, some are now becoming teenagers. They like seeing my hair when it’s short and say that I look beautiful. They teach me more about using my smartphone, Facebook and Whatsapp. They are smart, full of energy and want to do many things - even some you don’t want them to! I feel honored. I feel God has blessed me.

Have you ever given advice to a grandchild?

Many times. Always. When they are going to school or to hang around their friends, I advice them on good friends, not the ones that drink or smoke. I teach them on how to live well with one another and share. I help them to understand the true word of God through the Bible.

How do you pray for your grandchildren?

I pray that they would be able to finish their education up to university as they are very smart, and I pray that they would not go through my experience.

Enas Wanja

What role does a cucu play in African society?

She is our mediator, she has wisdom and knows many things about the past that we do not know.

How does your family view you as a cucu?

They think I am young to be a cucu, and I pamper my grandkids so much!

What kind of influence do you have as a grandparent?

I teach discipline so that they can be able to grow up well. I teach my children that they need to talk to their children in a polite way. I teach them ways to manage their homes - how to cook a lot of food so that even visitors can enjoy - and to pass on this to their children.

What do you enjoy most about being a cucu?

I am a honored to be a cucu of twins. Those times they call me cucu & sometimes mummy! When I ask them to get me something, and they really obey without complaining. 

Have you ever given advice to a grandchild?

My grandchildren are still young, so I teach them obedience, praying to God. I also try and teach them respect.

How do you pray for your grandchildren?

That they live for many years. They should not live my life but have a different life - to go to school and get an education. Also to know and love God.

Florence Khaukha

What do you remember about your cucu?

She used to tell us stories, animal stories which used to teach us more about our behaviours. Also, my mum was uncomfortable to teach me how to bath when I became a “woman”. So she stepped in and played the role so well.

What kind of role did she play in your life?

A reconciler. A teacher as she taught us more about our culture and wise sayings. She was an adviser as she taught me how to work hard and to save, to live with others. How to love and share.

What do you appreciate about your cucu?

Her advice on how to live. She made me feel special & loved. She taught me how to be taking care of myself as a woman and how to be a good wife.

Did she ever give you advice? 

Yes and many occasions! When she was talking about marriage, she advised me to take care of my marriage and gave an example of a sieve, that the good things you sieve into your marriage, but the bad things, you sieve out of your marriage.

Did she ever share a proverb with you?

“When someone has helped you with something, do not see it as a small thing”. When I was young, when my best friend gave me a small thing, I felt bad and went and talked to my grandmother about it. She told me to appreciate every little thing that a friend or someone gives.

Thank you to all the grandmothers (and grandfathers!) in our lives today! May God bless you and continue to fill your lives with peace!

1 comment

I loved reading these stories and what a wonderful impact and imprint these wonderful ladies are leaving on the next generation. Blessings from the good Lord above on your lives and the lives of your grandchildren.

Claudia Hood September 10, 2017

Leave a comment