My father grew up in an era where life denied him a chance to education. He dropped out of school in grade 9 (previously known as form-two). When his mother passed away, my grandfather was forced to re-marry as he was a king of the village. By the way, I am named after my grandfather and I look like him to some extent. My dad is the firstborn of four kids from his mother, only has one sister. After the death of his mother, life became really hard. He was forced to leave school, his father refused to pay school fees. The fees were paid in a form of a cow at that time. Bear in mind that my grandfather was an affluent man. He had a lot of cattle, sheep, and goats.
My father was very bright in school, he claimed to be an A student. Which I could not dispute, due to the fact that my brother and I excelled academically. This is part of our DNA. He was offered a chance to study twice by two headmasters but they had to consult with his old man first. My grandfather still refused to let him continue with his education, even after they told him that his son will not pay. He wanted him to leave school so that he can look after his cattle. After a while, my father fled home and worked at a nearby farm for three weeks, where he earned R3, 50. It is not much in today’s time but back then it was better than nothing and it could do a lot.
He bought a train ticket and came to Gauteng. He had no shoes or any clothes. Upon arrival, he was lucky to meet someone he knew from home in Alexandra. Then he got a job at a construction site in Sandton, where they were laying sewerage pipes. With the money earned, he enrolled at a night school to finish school. He also started to buy shoes and clothes. Sometimes he would send money home to his siblings.
Every family has its politics, there’s love and hate within the bloodline. Unfortunately, a couple of years after my father left; his father was murdered. An armed man went into his residential house and opened fire. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead upon arrival. My father became a prime suspect for his father’s murder. Because he was next in line to be the chief or successor after his father’s passing.
Bear in mind that my father and the second wife didn’t see eye to eye. In a way, she fueled the rumors that he could have hired a hitman to kill his father. My father was arrested and detained for a while the police were still investigating. Eventually, he was cleared of the murder as he didn’t partake in it. This is after he was brutally beaten by the police and spent about three months in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Few years down the line his younger brother murdered the second wife and he went to jail for years.
History often repeats itself. My father’s failed marriages are the result of not having a strong male figure. Who embodied the principles of family! Life forced him to grow and become a man when he was just a boy. Perhaps he could have been a better father or husband if he had a present father. He is an angry black man. The pain he endured as a young boy from the loss of his mother and the mistreatment from his father after the passing of his mother, still hurts even now at the age of 75.
He also made some bad choices; he could have done better as a father. The man walked out of a healthy home, because of his infidelities. Thought the grass was greener on the other side. When reality hit him hard, pride got the better of him. So he went and married for the second time. A marriage that evaporated everything he had. In the end, all he has are stories of the fountain of his youth.