I DEDICATE this week’s column to my father who has been there for me every path of the way and in the same vein also acknowledge all the good daddies out there who effortlessly raise their kids no matter the odds.
Now that we have that out of the way, let me express my utter shock and dismay at those tozas who have no skandes at all. Etsé, how do you come back after a decade of ‘no call, no show’, claiming lo and behold “Yes, I am the vader?” I have heard of the prodigal son in the Bible who returned home with his tail between his legs after the world bleksemed him black and blue, but I have never heard of the prodigal father.
Even though I am not going to get personal, I cannot zip my mouth about the recent spate of events that dominated the media and social networks. I am starting to suspect that some of these dead-beat fathers forcefully shove themselves in some hole in the earth as soon as they get the news that their lovey-doveys are preggies. They attend a school of indoctrination where they undergo vital lessons about: ‘When To Become A Father’.
News about their infant child is fed to them by a genie that has contact with those above ground. I can only imagine how such a lesson would go:
Genie: “No, don’t come out yet, the child is still in kimbis. Do you want to waste your moola on stinky nappies that you will have to supply for the next three years? How are you going to maintain your expensive taste for Jameson and the ever-demanding kamborotos?”
Father: “But …”
Genie: “No ‘buts’. Think about it. Do you know that for the next three years you will have to buy expensive baby formula? You have to hire a nanny, pay hospital bills and doctor’s fees every time the toddler is sick.”
Father: “The child is mine omfana .…”
Genie: “Hey, now you are really starting to annoy me. You really want to put your life on hold, hee …? Think man. Do you want to have sleepless nights, wake up three times in the night to feed the bambino or change nappies? You won’t get that promotion that you have been aiming for if you hardly have energy to complete a day’s work.”
Genie: “See what I mean. You don’t want to drive around in this skorokoro for the rest of your life, my broe. A man’s ride is his pride.”
Father: “It’s true what you are saying, man. But what will happen to my child …?”
Genie: “Don’t worry, the child will be fine. Women always find a way. Once the child is grown and there are no more school fees to pay, no university tuition, no expensive visits to Edgars, then you can come out. Don’t worry.”
And so the gullible father stays underground for the next 20 years and almost forgets that he had a child once upon a time until one day the genie returns. “Moola my broer! Lots of nyuku! You are rich!” the genie exclaims in excitement.
Father: “What are you talking about?”
Genie: “Didn’t I tell you, you must not worry? Now is the time to go claim your rightful place. Your child has made it!”
Many of us come from Christian backgrounds where we were taught to forgive but I do not blame children who reject their fathers after they were willingly absent from an important part of their lives. No wonder lyrics like this by Kenny Roger’s song ‘Stranger’ stuck with many of us for years: ‘Momma don’t need you anymore. And I don’t need you like before. You can go on back to where you went before. You’re just a stranger.’
Even transcripts from naughty boy Tupac Shakur’s ‘Mama’ song show how painful it is for any child not to know their daddy: “No love from my daddy cause the coward wasn’t there. He passed away and I didn’t cry, cause my anger wouldn’t let me feel for a stranger.” I am not saying that women are not to blame in certain instances, but some toppies are just shameless. Sorry Ngo!
By Magreth Nunuhe