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Friday, 7 June 2013


yá ni wúrà iye bíye
tí a ò lè fowó rà,
Ó lóyún mi fóṣù msaan,
ó pọ̀n mi fọ́dún mta
ìyá ni wúrà iye bíye
tí a ò lè fowó rà"

Mother is gold, expensive,
that money cannot buy
she carried me in her womb for 9 months
she back snuggled me for 3 years.
Mother is gold, expensive,
that money cannot buy



Ìyá- is the word for mother in Yorùbá. It is believed that the African mother, the Yorùbá woman is precious and must be adored, pampered (gbe gẹ̀gẹ̀) which is why my people say 'ì ni wúrà...' (mother is gold).

Again, to the Yorubas, the 9 months;oṣù msan pregnancy stage is not an easy task, not to mention the irora- pain, stress- ìnira on the ọjọ́ ìkúnlẹ̀: day of delivery (labour). 

She has a lot on her hand to do in the welfare of her child/children (ọmọ) , she breast feeds the child "á á fún ọmọ lọ́yàn",back snug the child "á á pọn sẹ́yìn", bathe it á wẹ̀ fún un  and care for it á tọ́ júu ẹ̀ even in the middle of the night; ọ̀gànj́ òru.

The poem my mother by Ann Taylor is not enough to show the worth iyì, strength agbára of the African Yorùbá mother.

This is why in Yorùbá land, the ìyá is regarded as the next after God. Any child who disobeys the mother automatically disobeys the creator. This can also be found in the christian philosophy as well as in Islam, both the Bible & Quran attest to this. 

Ìyàwó means wife in English, while ilé is the Yoruba word for house, home and to have a 'wife' is to have a mother who knows the value of child care, home keep to list a few.

The ìyàwó ilé is the housewife, who is most of the time expected to be in the home environment and not too far from the home where the ilé ìdáná, kitchen is her main spot. When not in the ilé ìdáná, she is in the market place; ọjà  selling her wares, which includes, aṣọ-òkè, òfì (clothing), agb̀n (basket), ìkòkò; clay pots and other goods.

The ìyàwó ilé on the other hand, is what the Yoruba tradition expects the wife to be in the ilé: house. She is expected to dáná/se oúnjẹ: cook for the family, see to their well being.

The major responsibilities of an ìyàwó ilé should do include: ọmọ bíbí, child bearing, ìtọjú ọmọ àti ọkọ: child care & husband pampering, iṣẹ́ ilé: house shores.

Apart from looking after children and the other duties of the ìyàwó ilé, it is her responsibility to inculcate the Yorùbá morals, ethics, values and norms in them (ìwà ọmọlúàbí, àà, ìé ilẹ́ Yorùbá ). Of which, ìtẹríba: respect/obedience for the bí: family, ọ̀rẹ́: friends, abálégbé: neighbours, alàgbà: elders, ẹgbẹ́: age mate, is of paramount importance (ó e kókó). 

Our people often say that "ọmọ gb́dọ̀ yàn kó yanjú, ó gb́dọ̀ jẹ ọmọlúàbí, tí a bíre, t́re, wò re" - a child must be nurtured with the proper ethical, moral, social manners and for this to happen, the mother would have done a great job for her children to be regarded as ọmọlúàbí or ọmọ tó gbà ẹ̀ḱ ilé (moral children).

As the house keeper- alámójúto ilé, nothing kept in her care must go amiss, she must be a good cook for her husband to love her, she washes the man's aṣọ, clothes with that of the children if they are still in a tender age.

If a housewife did not meet up with the expectations of the bí ọkọ: husband's family (in-laws), then arises complaints over everything she does. They will say 'ìyàwó kò mọ̀ ẹsẹ gbé'.

To be loved by her in-laws;bí ọkọ, she must care for and also have respect - ìtẹ́ríba for everyone even the youngest of them (àbúrò ọkọ). She calls the male - kùnrin 'brother' and female - obìnrin 'sister' using "ẹ" as a sign of respect when she addresses them.

Are you a housewife? What shores do you do which is not stated here? Do you think the housewife still work in this generation? 

Kí lo rò? Jẹ́ kí á gb́ ní pà ẹ̀