Reminiscing the Contributions of Late Mrs. Esther E. Nnaji to her Society


Born a performer artist in the oral form, mama was one amiably sociable person who involved herself in many activities that outshined her real person among her equals. I grew up to know mama as a performer artist. She carried me to several of her Umu-Ada meetings and those of co wives, popularly known as ‘Inyom Ji’. A section of these meetings, which succeeded every other, used to be the dancing section. During this period, it was mama who always led the way to the music and the melody being made through her captivating voice. 

She led in the singing, while other women followed suit in the chorus. I also saw that she was a good dancer; for the women unanimously danced in turns. Mama also performed in various funerals, leading women in songs as they watch over corpses of relations during burial.

Mama was a very competitive tycoon, who had her finger prints in different businesses. She was originally known all over the community and in the neighbourhood as one who traded on dried fish; but that was not the only trade she knew well. Mama kept a food shop for few years in the 1970s. It was told that she was a good cook; referring to this, people called her ‘Oji maggi agwor ji’. She knew, perfectly, how to strike balance amidst condiments. I am a testimonial to this. It was from food vending that she moved to her permanent business. From the sale of fish, mama made the money she used to train her children and made sure that they were well positioned based on the dominant craftsmanship prevalent at their time. With her unceasing efforts, I was able to go through my university education.

It is not exaggerative to assert that mama was the richest home-based mother in the entire community throughout the 1980s and early 90s. To involve people around her in the craving of her God-given riches, mama gave horses to her husband people and also to her paternal brethren. In those days, horses evoked conviviality and proved explicit show of affluent more than cow. People who killed horses were accorded with great honour in their societies; mama was esteemed likewise. 

This affluent found around mama inspired the villagers to name one of their female masquerades after mama. There she lavished her money illustriously; for she was obliged instinctively to throw money each time the masquerade performed. She was deep in this waste until her later days when she finally embraced Christ in 2005, after my first publication.

Mama worshipped with Catholic church first. Later, in 2006, she joined the Reconciliation Gospel Mission (RGM) where she remained till death. The extent of her faith in Christ was determinable via the way she professed Him as her saviour. One question she ceaselessly asked me was, ‘I hope you have not left Jesus?’ Mama had a faith too challenging to me. This was my anchor; it was my utmost joy, even though she could not do so early enough. 



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