Richard Mofe Damijo was just nineteen years old, with the daring spirit of the young. He had lost his father and his mother was depending on her brother, his uncle to pay for his university education. His uncle wanted him to study Law but Richard had other ideas. He engaged his uncle in a heated debate about his career path for hours. At the end of the discussion, his uncle turned to his mother and said, ’Please let him study the course he wants to study. But did you see the way he was arguing with me? That is how lawyers talk. He is supposed to be a lawyer.’
After my uncle left, my mother called me aside, RMD said. ‘She spoke to me in that calm voice she used for me alone. I was her only child and she doted so much on me. She called me all the usual pet names and then spoke in an even softer voice, ‘Richard my son. Why you nor wan listen to your uncle? This one when you say you wan study, I nor understand am.’
‘Mama, nor worry,’ Richard told her. ‘That course go good for me. Nor worry, you go dey see me for television.’
The words calmed his mother. She was excited that her only child was going to appear on the television and did not stop him from studying Theatre Arts at the University of Benin.
And the prediction came true. Richard was selected as one of the cast of a popular television series on NTA Benin in those days. He played the role of a character called Emeka and the series became a favourite of the viewers.
One day, Richard returned from the university and went to the market to collect the house key from his mother. Someone in the market recognised him and raised an alarm. He was carried shoulder high in the market. Everyone started calling his mother, MAMA EMEKA. She felt so proud of her son. He had indeed lived up to his promise to her.
Her son was being seen on television.
Quite an enlightening story for me. One young man dared to live his dreams against all the odds and brought joy to his widowed mother. Maybe you have been despised because your dreams do not ‘measure up’ to what people around are running after. Do not give up. Believe the dream. And those who mocked you will soon call your mother, MAMA EMEKA.