By Muhammed Sidibeh
They are those that accept destiny, despite its criticality. They are those that are forced to accept fate despite its complexity. They are those that cry inward in themselves for their missing and gone darlings. These are women whose husbands have died and have not remarried.
Generally, widows of all the Sub-Saharan African countries are treated arguably much of the muchless. Some of the predicaments of this institution as well as its merits would be captured in the subsequent paragraphs.
To begin with, looking at some of the banes and drawbacks of being a widow or seeing yourself in a situation of widowhood, is to some people untenable. In The Gambia, most widowhoods are associated with bad fortunes. This is in fact clearly visible if a widow losses two or more of her husbands in a short period of time consecutively. This would generate a lot of suspicions and speculations, since fingers would be pointed at the said widow who may not have a hand in the demise of the two husbands or more. In some societies, the unknown cause of the husband’s death would continue to noise about. Insults would continue to rain on the ill-fated widow who may be completely innocent. This and many other superstitious beliefs have been contributing immensely for the solitary confinement of widows in our communities.
Again, in our communities, widows do face some financial bottlenecks. This is due to their complete isolation or complete level of bereavement by the community. Sometimes, getting the fish money or food for the children is burdensome. This is why some widows who are desperate having something on the table, tend to look for their means of livelihood whether hook-or-crook. Some would in fact resorted to having sex in return for money. A widow that is totally isolated will likely do whatever pleases her, even if society frowns at it.
Furthermore, another challenge that widows in our communities struggle with, is getting a successor at the right time. This is impliedly captured in the previous paragraphs. That is the society’s isolation and the superstitious belief that they are not to be trusted. This simplistic thinking by the societies has been affecting them (widows) direly as it causes difficulty for replacement of their husbands who had gone to the untrodden world. Sadly, fraction or half of these widows are young or people who are in their sexual luxury. Since nature would not allow them to continue their lives alone without a partner, they at some point would taste the forbidden fruit of their ancestors whether secretively or openly. This if persists, is almost equivalent to those who work in the house of ill repute.
Discrimination against widows is something that cannot go unnoticed. Some widows in some communities are always discouraged participating in community development. Anything that could or can catapult the community to another floor, if it is raised by a widow or widows, is regarded as null and void. They are like properties to be seen and not heard. Their voices is not heard because of unexplained and crafted one-sided culture. Thereby extinguishing their unlocked talent and promising future.
Meanwhile, even though widows in our communities are treated with plethora of contempts, there are still some advantages associated to widowhood.
One of the assets of widowhood or being one in our communities is specialty or recognition among others. To some extent, widows in our settings are considered sympathetic folk by some chunk of individuals. Some of these people have the opinion that, widows must be embraced and treated equally. These people who are of the above instincts are constantly ready to give their maximum support either in cash or kind in healing some of the wounds of these women. For them, being a widow is not a human makings, but their destinies call for it which is supervised by The Most High. This is why they would explore all avenues in making so that widows in our communities are not considered prejudice elements.
The other seemingly pleasing part of widowhood is that, if at least one of her spirited children tries to heal the wounds of her mother, by searching part of success if not complete success desperately at the early days of his or her heydays. This would douse the mother’s emotional distress and grant her elation at last.
In conclusion, widows in our communities must not be viewed as legislators of their own destinies, but instruction followers in destinies. Therefore, it is hugely important to clearly state that, they, widows, are ought to be considered in our daily happenings because life they say, is like a dice; you never know which side turns.