Directed by Uche Aguh and produced by 55 Media, Azuike (Igbo) which translates to ‘The Strength of Your Back’, depicts three daughters and their mother all dressed in magnificent gowns being photographed to commemorate their achievements.
The piece highlights the relationship between a mother and daughter in the most authentic and raw way. The poem written by Keside Anosike and Uche Aguh with Uche narrating throughout the epic piece which was shot by the talented Dennis Schmitz. As a black woman many of the words resonate with me.
The title itself is powerful as it alludes to how strong women are. The weight on our back is immense – physically, in carrying a child for 9 months and theoretically being the backbone of a family, nurturing and caring for everyone in the home. I also felt passionate about the fact that ‘Azuike’ was repeated several times throughout the piece, which showed that the mother tongue was respected and appreciated by the daughters.
“You think of her first, as lightning and then as thunder and then sun but you realize she is not one, not three, that she is the whole and source of it all, that she is the earth in woman’s form” – This part of the poem stood out to me as it portrays the highs and the lows of motherhood and the relationship with your mother. There are times of distress, disagreement but of course too, joy and happiness. Like a sun, a mother’s warmth is key. Overall, like the earth there are many elements to a mother, she is our everything, our rock and foundation, like the Earth.
“You have seen your mother in worship, her rumpled face in communication, the sharp edges of her nchafu as she jerks, as she demands from God, her chi, only to give back to you.” – Sacrifice. This section makes me realize that woman sacrifice a lot as a mother, their bodies, time, career, social life, money and relationships. Listening and watching the film puts a lot of this into perspective and makes the target audience feel grateful.
The piece will make women from any background strive to be the mother that their own was to them. It makes you want to carry the strength through to the generations to come in your family. Your mother is “leaving you with the strength in which you carry your family, each of your children, from your womb, to the cradle or your arms, to the back of your spine.” The piece beautiful portrays this; a strong women who has passed on her strength and character thus, making three strong woman who are everything their mother was, and will always be.