I’m proof a ‘fatherless’ child can be a superdad

A light drizzle (I interpreted this as a blessing) greeted the Friday morning I was to start my long walk to meet my “father”.

This is my story.

I am one of the few or more who have come out of the “dadless world” a better person.

I decided to embark on this journey to meet my “faceless” father so as to find closure following the SA Institute of Race Relations’ drive to heal the South African family.

My search was not difficult as “he” still has a connection with my family. An appointment was set – September 25 (the day before my daughter’s birthday).

I wondered if he knew my own birthday. I was to see my father for the first time in 35 years. I would finally be able to put a face to this void in me – thus ending an empty chapter in my life.

It was an emotionless reunion when I saw my father for the first time. I think the relationship was too broken to be fixed. The introduction, greetings and visit lasted a short time.

We shared nothing in common. We were strangers to each other. As I bid farewell to “my father”, I knew this chapter in my life would never change. There was a wall built 35 years ago which was ­impregnable.

I am a father of two (an 11-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son). I was brought up by my grandparents. It was my grandmother’s teaching about life that made me realise I had a choice to make the right decisions.

My choice – a priceless responsibility and one that transforms your life for-ever – was to be a better person and the greatest father any child could wish for.

What really scared my faceless ­father – who existed but was never part of my life – from his responsibility, made me want to be better than him.
I have thus grabbed my fatherhood journey with both hands and I have enjoyed every second of it.

His absence in my life gave me an opportunity to do a ­better “job” than him.

I can also prove to others that a “dadless child” can be a “superdad”. It’s a timeless and priceless experience. Once you miss it, it’s gone. Whenever I needed inspiration on fatherhood, I would play a Stimela song – See The World Through The Eyes of a Child.

My kids give me all I ever missed and wished for. They fill the void I suffered and give me the love and appreciation I missed from my “faceless dad”. ­Father’s Day is my best date on the ­calender as they celebrate me for the fatherly love I provide and being part of their lives.

I never knew a “dad” and find it difficult to call someone that, but I find so much joy when my kids call me dad.

 The word I never used while growing up now means so much to my children. It gives me a sense of contribution and allows me to bring closure to my “dadless child” tag. I have come to understand that anyone can be a father, but not everyone can be a dad.

» Mpho wa ga Rakoma from Fishhoek works for the SANDF and studies journalism part-time

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