I love sinking into a new book from Alexander McCall’s First Ladies’ Detective series. Set in East Arica’s Botswana, the area around which I lived for two years, I am well acquainted with the rhythms of life in that part of the sub-Saharan dessert. Each new book is like a trip home. I also know I will be entertained and amused by each adventure in a land where the mantra is, “Don’t worry, be happy.”
Not that life in that part of the world is easy. It isn’t, But the sandy veld mixed with the riches from rivers and rain forests dazzles the eye and McCall’s heroine, lady detective Precious Ramotswe, is quick to find meaning in the shadings.
Mma Ramotswe is a large woman, due in part to her penchant for fruit cake. But rather than stress between her vanity and her sweet tooth, she chooses to redefine herself. She is, in her own words, “traditionally built.”
Mma Ramotswe came to mind when I read an article about Ashley Stewart, a fashion line for large women, one with a large clientele of African American women who choose to flaunt their plus sizes with a splash of color and style. Unlike their anorexic blonde, blue-eyed sisters, these women are at peace with their measurements. “A 2012 Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that 66 percent of overweight black women say they have high self-esteem compared with 41 percent of average-size or thin white women.” (“The Ashley Stewart Model,” by Janet Paskin, Bloomberg Businessweek, Dec. 26, 2017, pg. 58.)
Like McCall’s lady detective, American black women seem to embrace their traditionally built figures They have no fear of a mirror and flock to the Ashley Stewart stores to try on fashion after fashion, unlike their white cousins who prefer to shop on the web. (Ibid, pg. 59.) As one who remarks on the beautify of African woman in my upcoming memoir, I have to cheer for the healthy attitude of my black sisters. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. (Click)