The author Yoknyam Dabale, right, with Prof. Mercy Amba Oduyoye
Over the years, I’ve met a good number of influential people. But what makes Prof. Mercy Amba Oduyoye–affectionately known as “Auntie Mercy”–special is that, despite her high profile, she saw me, a graduate student and reached out.
I have been an admirer of her writings and that of other sisters and brothers of The Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians, also known as “The Circle,” for over a decade. As the Yoruba people say, “children often recognize an elder, more than elders recognize children.” In this context, an elder recognized a child. My first encounter with Auntie Mercy was in July 2019 during The Circle’s 5th conference and 30th anniversary in Gaborone, hosted by the University of Botswana. I was having breakfast at News Cafe when she and her team came and sat down with me. The connection was instantaneous.
After that initial interaction and whenever our paths crossed at the conference, Auntie Mercy always acknowledged me and she was generous with her time. I also had the distinct honor of presenting Auntie Mercy with The Circle’s Lifetime Achievement Award during the 30th anniversary dinner. Congratulations for the launching of your memoirs, “Re-membering Me” and Happy 85th Birthday.
Asante, wazviita, na gode, medaase (thank you) Auntie Mercy for your sisterhood, your commitment to encouraging “rising stars,” and for spearheading the creation of The Circle, a multi-religious Pan-African organization where African women can speak their experiences and arise.
Yoknyam Dabale is a PhD student at Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Intercultural Studies (SIS) in Pasadena, California (USA). She is also an activist, a Northern Nigerian village woman, and a member of The Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians.