MOST daughters who grew up without their fathers often look for father figures elsewhere and sometimes in the wrong places. But it was a different story for Skeem Saam's actress, Innocent Sadiki, and her twin sister, Millicent Mashile. When their mother passed away when they were just fours years old, they were raised by their grandparents who instilled in them the strong values that have made them the women they are today.
LOOKING FOR THEIR FATHER
Innocent says her grandmother never wanted to talk about their father, who was in jail. “Every time we told our grandmother we wanted to speak to our father, who was at Zonderwater Maximum Security Prison in Pretoria, she cringed. As a result, we never spoke to her about him,” says Innocent. She says she and her sister went to look for their father when they were teenagers.
They had heard that he was out of jail and felt they needed to talk to him and forgive him in order for them to carry on with their lives. “Even though we did not know our father, we loved him. We went to his house and stood outside the locked gate. There were surveillance cameras everywhere and even though he saw us, he did not open for us. We jumped the gate and kept on knocking at the door until he opened. When we got inside, we told him that we loved him and forgive him,” says Innocent, who doesn't want to reveal why her father was in jail.
MOTIVATING OTHER FATHERS
After meeting their father, the twins then took it upon themselves to encourage fathers, especially those who are in prison, to build relationships with their children. “We decided to speak up on the issue when we were once invited to Zonderwater to talk about transformation of the mind and the power of forgiveness. We talked about what affects most people, which is growing up without a father.” She says even though their father’s absence did not have an impact on their lives, she thinks it is good to motivate other fathers to build relationships with their children. “I have a daughter and when I see her playing with her father, I see how happy she is.
My sister and I missed out on this, but we decided it was not going to affect us or determine how we were going to turn out. Now that we are grown women, we hope to change other fathers,” she says. Innocent says only one person from her father's side tried to reach out to them. “One brother tried to reach out by sending text messages, but we did not know his motives. Other than him no one else tried to reach out. Maybe in time they will attempt to reach out.”
HER CHILDHOOD WAS NOT BAD
Innocent says her childhood was not bad at all because she had her sister, who's her best friend. “Having a twin is a gift from God because we share the same experiences. Life was not bad when we were growing up because we had our our own secret life that no one knew about.” The sisters want to make a difference and are involved in charity work when Innocent is not shooting Skeem Saam.