Your name reminds me of an old good woman who once lived in my cradle village. Her named is ‘Bakeera’ (they became pure and spotless). Bakeera was a product of the 1936 great East African Revival. I was young, very young, when she used to come visiting at home. She was great friends with my mother, even though mother was many years her junior and behaved more like peers. They together went to our local church every Wednesday for fellowship and every Sunday for Sunday service.
Bakeera was a sweet great soul. She cared less about material things and was always cultivating means of keeping holy before God and before men, a lifestyle that was peculiar only to her and reflected in her name. She carried with her something every time she visited; roasted nuts, flour or a piece of craft, because giving and generosity were one with her.
She was always tingly and spotless clean; her garments were always of fine linen dresses and shoals. Her hair had greyed and looking like spring wool! I always marveled and mused at her in a mixture of awe and wonder. She’s different!
Growing up in a closed, but rather authentic and rustic village, I had not much access to the outside sophisticated world and people. Bakeera and another good old woman named ‘Edurayi’ (Audrey), were a perfect model of refinement and sophistication even with no formal education. Bakeera was a fine artisan with unparalleled knack for beauty and craftsmanship. She made all sorts of fine linen table/chair cloths (Ebitambare) and colored baskets with unrivaled specialty in making ‘Engari’ (winnowing baskets) which, only a few old women cut from such a rare fabric could make!
She lived content with modest means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; she was worthy not respectable, and wealthy not rich; she thought quietly, talked gently and acted frankly; she listened to and carried babies with open arms and an open heart.
Later in her life, Bakeera could rest and go to be with her Creator. That was in the early 90’s. I was still young with not much developed emotions, but her departure is still vivid in my memory because I knew the physical universe had seen the exit of one of her very finest. The infinite universe was at a gain!
Bakeera remains a charter and de facto member of a small club that is comprised of women like Mother Theresa, Florence Nightingale, Elizabeth Fly, Jane Goodall, Joyce Tibashaaga (my granny) and a few contemporary women like Winnie Karagwa Byanyima. I have a feeling that you and other young women like you have the audacity of carrying on such a legacy, Keezire!
See, your name, ‘Keezire’, which has a great resemblence in pronounciation and meaning with ‘Bakeera’, has inspired me today to remember the good old soul. Generations to come will scarce believe that such a woman as Bakeera graced this world in flesh and blood!
To you, Keezire, and all the good women in this world!
I would recommend this book for anyone interested in taking further glimpse into the East African Revival and how great women like Bakeera walked in the light.