The final chapter of Proverbs opens with a young prince learning from his mother the qualities that should define his reign as a godly king (Prov. 31). This wise and godly mother describes the kind of wife the young prince should seek. She asks, ‘Who can find a virtuous wife?’ This mother points out that such a woman is rare. Such a woman was Mama Hannah Folorunso Famurewa, a woman of exceptional virtue.

Like Hannah in the Bible, Mama Famurewa had the faith to trust God with all her family. Mama Famurewa knew God and knew His character. She demonstrated impeccable loyalty to her husband and earned his trust and confidence. Because of her thrift and industry, Mama Famurewa added to her husband’s wealth and reputation and her family’s comfort (vv. 10-12). Mama Famurewa was an enterprising woman like a merchant ship that travelled to distant lands to seek clothing, food, and items to be bought and sold for profit. She was a “realtor” who bought, improved, and sold items.

Her physical strength and endurance seemed inexhaustible as she rose before dawn to enter the early bus to Ibadan and worked far into the night caring for her family and household, which were her foremost priorities (Prov 31:13-24). Mama Famurewa was a magnificent woman clothed in “strength” and “honour,” which described her character. Her inward character gave her the outward confidence to face the future with its unexpected challenges. She took what she had learned and passed it on to others with wisdom. She displayed a heart of kindness (Prov 31:25-27).

Because of Mama Famurewa’s unwavering love and tireless efforts, she was deeply respected, not just within the Osu community but most importantly by her family and church. Beyond her hard work and exceptional business acumen, Mama Famurewa’s true strength lay in her devotion to God. She was a trailblazer in women’s business ownership in Osu, a fact that fills me with immense pride. Her approach to daily challenges and her ability to navigate storms set her apart. 

Life’s disappointments did not confine Mama Famurewa. She developed a remarkable resilience to shame and failure. Despite the evident family and business pressures, she radiated joy and contentment. It wasn’t a ‘smile through the pain’ facade but a genuine, sincere demeanour that naturally drew people to her. She always sought opportunities to extend kindness to those in need. Her firm belief, prayerfulness, consistency, and respect for others’ confidence were a testament to her uplifting spirit.  

Mama Famurewa was accepting and forgiving. Her acceptance of others was not conditional on how they behaved, what they thought, or the mistakes they had made in the past. This did not mean that she liked everything about everyone, but her caring for others did not require people to jump through hoops to please her. Her warmth and understanding were a beacon of light in our community.

It is a privilege to have been part of Mama Famurewa’s family. She deserves to be celebrated daily. She lives on. Please remember the family in prayer.

The Rt. Rev. Dr Ayodeji Okegbile, Bishop, Nigeria Methodist Mission, UK and Ireland.