In most instances, the word ‘family’ cannot be truly defined without the existence of a father and a mother. The father is then considered as the breadwinner or the head of the family. A real father is expected to show, express love and be a protector as well as a provider to a family.

Growing up without a father is a painful experience. I was raised by my grandmother. My mom left me when I was six months old to go look for work in the city and she never came back.

As a child, I was faced with many challenges. I was going to school barefoot, and wearing a torn uniform. Other children at school used to laugh at me as I was the only one without shoes. They would mock me, and call me ugly names. I wished if my father was around maybe I was not going to be in that situation.

During break time at school, other children would be eating bread with cheese, fruits and juice while I would be sitting, right hand on my chin watching and swallowing my saliva.

It was very hard to focus in class while my stomach was empty. After school, some parents used to come fetch their children. I would sit under the tree waiting for everyone to go home to avoid being mocked on the way home. They said I looked like a monkey. When I was in Grade 7, I was suspended from school because I hit another boy on the head with a brick for mocking me. My grandmother begged the principal and I was allowed back in the class. I was always aggressive, depressed and at some point, I thought of committing suicide.

The society I grew up in was very cruel to me. I was the only child without parents so most people used to say a lot of bad things about me. One day, I was accused of stealing chickens. I was taken to the village headman who then ordered his men to whip me with an electric cord five times.

Seeing other children with their fathers playing soccer, fishing or taking a walk, broke my heart. My teenage life was very disturbing because that was the time I needed a father figure to teach, protect and guide me. I ended up going to my teachers for guidance and counselling.

Now that I’m a man, I have a wife and three children but I’m still suffering because I cry every time when my children ask me about my father. Every child has a right to a father.


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