BY RUBY IGWE
Way back, I used to think everyone was immortal. I just never had to adjust to the kind of shocking change that is someone ceasing to exist. But now, I’m more than once bitten. And yesterday evening, I got bitten once again. Mama Wa has left Earth’s building. It doesn’t feel real, or normal. I’m not sure what to write anymore. Rest in peace, yes, of course. Definitely, always…
Auntie, I’m so glad the AMVCAs celebrated you when they did. Fuji House of Commotion was how we crossed paths, but your creative career spanned decades, and several sectors and genres. And I am so proud of how much you achieved, how many lives you touched. The ones who posted about it, the ones who will, and the ones who will never post. All join.
I have this sinking feeling though, that the Creative Industries’ infrastructural deficits failed you. We should have been celebrating every decade. You should have been teaching in some academy, so young hopefuls understand how it was done. There should have been documentaries, stars on walks of fame. We could have done so much better. But let this not turn into a rant.
Aunty Mama Wa, you are immortal in our hearts and our films. I for one, as young as I was when I met you, will never forget you. Watching you on those days on set I’d wonder where you would summon all the anger from to become Mama Wa, Chief Fuji’s perpetually irritated older sister. Between takes, you would lapse into this smiling place of grace and no airs and I’d just be looking.
I remember trying to imitate you during the ‘Aquaya’ episode when you had bug spray in Fuji House, in my house, and how I failed miserably, to much laughter. You straddled comedy and seriousness with an amazing balance that I’m not sure will be replicated easily. I wish we had more time together. We always think we have time, to make our plans and dreams a reality.
We always forget time’s relentlessness, and life’s way of moving everyone forward at a frenetic pace without us noticing. These memories I’m mentioning must be at least ten years old now. A lifetime ago. Auntie o, rest in peace. Thank you for gifting us with the blessing that was your excellence. Thank you for being that city on a hill. I’m going to pretend you aren’t gone.
Because you aren’t, remember?
I’m going to put you in my heart’s hall of fame, and channel you when I need to be excellently creative. Thank you so much for being. I wonder whether it’s a play or a film you’ll do first in heaven. I guess we’ll know someday. I celebrate you, and your life, and your legacy. Thank you.