Senator Gerba pays tribute to the Honourable Mobina S.B. Jaffer

By: The Hon. Amina Gerba

Share this post:

Hon. Amina Gerba: As Senator Clement said earlier, we all cried when we said goodbye on Monday. I will try my best not to cry again.

I rise today to pay tribute to my African sister, Senator Mobina Jaffer. She is the first African of South Asian descent — as everyone has mentioned — and the first Muslim woman to be appointed to the Senate of Canada.

When I was appointed to this august chamber, I rushed to read up on the senators and their backgrounds. That is how I found out that I was not the first African-born woman to become a Canadian senator. However, when talking about Senator Jaffer to friends who are not familiar with the ethnic and racial diversity of the African continent, many told me that Senator Jaffer could not be considered African because she is not Black, she is of South Asian descent.

The fact that many people continue to believe that Africa’s inhabitants are all Blacks attests to the lack of knowledge about the African continent. Just by talking to Senator Jaffer, I could see how proud she is of her Ugandan and African heritage. Honourable colleagues, we can leave Africa, no matter how and no matter under what conditions, but Africa never leaves us. After arriving in Canada as a refugee, the Honourable Senator Jaffer dedicated her career to representing and defending the interests of all Canadians, especially those who, like her, found a new home in this country of immigrants, which took all of us in. She came to this country as a refugee, but she has done it all, as you said, and I could have repeated everything you said.

A senator for 23 years, she used her unique history and powerful, yet always warm, voice to inspire and influence the policies that have shaped our country, to make the Canada we all love an inclusive and diverse place. Thank you.

Senator Jaffer is a true African mother who embodies the values of resilience, wisdom, compassion and generosity. I actually wore this sari, which you have all admired, to show her how much I appreciate her many gifts. My sister Mobina, after so many years of service to your community and to Canadians, it is high time that you enjoyed a well-deserved retirement with Nuralla and with your whole family, including your grandchildren and children, who are here today. Nuralla, love of her life, you will take good care of Mobina every day. I know that you’ve already planned a long trip to East Africa, and I hope you enjoy every minute. Thank you, Mobina.

Share this post: