Windhoek – Starting off as an emotional confrontation to motherhood, Esperance Luvindao’s poem ‘Meme’ examines the priceless role that a mother plays in the lives of her children.
Through the eyes of a girl child, “Mama, you were perfect” echoes throughout the poem to mirror the thought one often has when the fullness of a loved one’s life has been shortened.
Though the death of a loved one is not anyone’s wish, Luvindao recites her poem in the hope that it resonates with anyone who may need to heal from it. The poem’s title, meaning “Mother” in Oshiwambo, is inspired by the women she encountered in the north of Namibia when she went to complete her final year practical work.
“A lot of patients don’t speak English, so I had to learn a bit of Oshiwambo,” she states.
Currently, completing her final year in medicine, the 24-year-old poet asserts that her creativity plays an important role in balancing her life. Serving as a therapeutic outlet of sorts, Luvindao believes her art has even helped her perform better in school.
“I don’t know what the relation is, but I think that for me it is a type of release because medical school can be stressful,” she laughs.
The poem itself is dedicated to her own mother, who passed away almost 20 years ago.
“I think that a lot of times, when people eventually lose loved ones, it’s a thing of what grief method is appropriate. [People tend to say things like] ‘No, don’t cry too much’; or ‘No, you can’t express yourself like that’.”
“It’s something that I don’t talk about,” states Luvindao, “but if you’re going to be an artist, you need to be real and give people a side of you that they have never seen before.” Luvindao wishes to connect with her listeners on a deeper level.
‘Meme’ is a poem that she believes can impact society as it carries weight in the hearts of many. To the poet, healing is an unattainable concept; a notion that rings true for anyone who has gone through grief.
“At this point, I don’t feel like I’ve healed and I don’t feel like I ever will heal,” she states.
The poem’s underlying purpose is to let people in grief know that they are not alone.
“Even though I’ve lost both my parents, I can’t say that I know how you’re feeling,” Luvindao adds.
“No one can really say that because everyone’s loss is special. But at the same time, you are not alone.”