A few pointers on paternity

2010-06-19 12:22

My mother was 15 when she fell ­pregnant with


It was a huge disappointment for her family because they hoped she would

finish school and ­become a nurse.

The boy’s family was ­informed and they agreed to pay maintenance.

There was one condition, though: I had to be born the ­spitting

­image of my father, which was considered the only way to ­determine ­paternity

­because DNA testing was ­unheard of back then.

Well, I didn’t disappoint.

I came out as yellow as ­sunshine, a

major physical ­feature on my paternal side.

But we waited and waited for them to send ­essentials such as food

and clothing.

Three years went by and my grandmother decided she couldn’t wait

any longer.

My unschooled, teenage mother went out and found a job as an

assistant at a meat market. She toiled on her feet from dawn to dusk.

While she was at work, I was under the care of her two younger

brothers and their grandmother.

My uncles went to school in the morning, but as soon as they came

back home, they acted as my guardians.

They taught me the importance of

responsibility, such as making my bed, sweeping the yard and wiping the


As I grew older, they gave me the privacy and respect I deserved,

even though we lived in a three-roomed house.

They were strict. I couldn’t go out on dates, have long nails or

wear make-up until I turned 21.

This made me ­unpopular with my school friends,

but it ­cemented my ­foundation for a better future.

After finishing matric, I was accepted to study at Tshwane

University of Technology.

I got the registration fee from one of my uncles.

I had never set

foot in a bank before so I stapled the money on to the registration form, put it

in an envelope and prayed it got delivered.

It did, and a few years later, I

graduated and ­haven’t looked back since.

There was never a rainy day with my uncles around and they proved

to me that ­fatherhood means more than just passing on your DNA.


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