The year 2020 was not easy, we were all trying to get by. I took a trip to see my father after lockdown laws were relaxed on travel. Every time when I go home I make three stops; the first stop is my granny’s house (where I grew up), the second stop is my mother’s house (My home), and lastly, my father’s house (I can never call my father’ house, my home because I have always been a guest there). I just wanted to reconnect: we were not good terms for almost two years. The reality is no matter how angry I can be towards my father, he lives in me. Me and him are cut from the same cloth. He is a stubborn man and a perfectionist. Which are some of the traits, I hate and love about him. He recently divorced his second wife at the age of 73. He is just picking up the pieces and rebuilding at his age. The divorce hit him hard than coronavirus.
Spending time with my old man has been prolific. I got a chance to hear stories of his journey as a young man, some were pleasant to hear while others raised questions in my mind. One thing I like about my dad is that he acknowledged his flaws. I’ve only spent 5 days with the man but I managed to grasp 7 decades of life experience. So I made him very proud, regardless of our ups and downs. Every time I needed anything academically he helped where he could. I remember when I needed a laptop he pulled through and I was able to execute my assignments. To hear him say that “He loves me dearly” out loud was the most sentimental moment of my life. Love is a strong word that most black men don’t use towards their sons. For me to hear it, I felt close to god and more alive.
In the early 2000s, my father owned various properties, some were in Gauteng and others in Limpopo, where he initially planned to retire at. One of the many tales that he shared was when the shack caught fire due to a paraffin lamp, while I was asleep inside. We were visiting his other place in Alexandre, this was his first shack when he came to seek employment in the city of gold and my mother was not with us on the day. He had gone to the shops and upon his return, people were trying to extinguish the fire. Nobody knew there was a baby inside, so he kicked the door and went right inside the flame wearing a wet blanket he borrowed from the people and came out with me. He was bruised by the flame and has a scar to show for it. I have no memory of this event, however, my mother has also told me the story a couple of times.
I have so many memories of my father, both good and bad because he took me everywhere! When my parents separated, I was hurt the most even though I was still very young. I could only imagine what he went through as a man losing custody of his sons. I speak or write about my father more because he is the only point of reference when it comes to male figures in my life. And as a boy child how my father lived his life is very important to me. Regardless of everything he has done or put us through, I love my father dearly.