My father, a 59-year-old, would say on his birthday, “This is not the date I was born. You know in the olden days you would just pick a date and a number and that would be you birth date. He is a great story teller in the family.

He is a father to more than 30 kids with only five of them his biological children. You may be wondering, how? Well, let me help you. He is a loving and caring father to every kid that comes and knocks on his door. He taught us to share everything we have with everyone, no matter how little it may be. That is the reason there were always many children at our home.

I remember when we were kids still in primary school, living in the villages without his presence. He was working in Pretoria as a domestic worker and we were staying in villages in the Eastern Cape. He would visit us in December holidays. Before he arrived he would call and ask for the number of children present at our home and their genders and shoe sizes. We knew we would have clothes for Christmas. On the date of his arrival we would wake up and run to the bus stop and search for him in all the buses and cars that transported people from town to our village.

We would wait there for hours and we would not feel hungry because of the joy and excitement of his arrival. When he finally arrived we would go and run towards him and we would all get hugs and kisses on our cheeks. After, we would help him with all the things he brought from Pretoria.

When we got to the house he would open his suitcases and take out plastics with our names written on them. We would all start fitting the shoes and clothes and every kid who was present would have something new to were on Christmas day.

At night we would sit with him at the fireplace where he would be sharing his childhood stories of all the dangers he faced because of his naughtiness as well as folklore tales. His stories were funny and enjoyable and many kids from the villages and our friends would come and listen too.

The following day he would wake up and sing songs outside while busy fixing everything that was broken in our home and make the animals’ kraal new and warm. We would wake up and eat breakfast, clean the house, and go out to help him. The days he stayed with us were always fun and memorable until he went back to work in January.

He is the pillar of the family. His love never ends for us. He still continues to love his grandchildren; he is a wonderful grandfather. He still gives love to the fatherless. Our cousins, friends and our children know the love of a father through him. His love masks the absence of their fathers.

My hero, my father.


This was one of the commended entries in the My Father essay writing competition. Click here to read other excellent essays from the competition.