From my birth, at my younger age, I could only listen because I knew nothing. I was surrounded by warm whispers from beloved men who had lived within my village for many years: elders. They taught me dulcet fairy-tale stories, one that changed me at my younger age. One thing that I learned was that “society that has no women, is like a sown field with nothing to reap”.

But then men were defined as “Cattle that could not graze on the same field incessantly, they always seek calm virgin turf,” and whom cared much about oneself. For all the years that had passed, only a few men were defined as the pillars of their homes and real role models to their children.

We’re living in a period where men are said to be runaways and the kind that bears the burden of an inherited historical arrogance. Some of this arrogance is defensive, a flailing out against a loss of a role. It has been eleven years now, since we survived the death of my father. The screams of our hurt had now begun to fade away and tears of agony we’ve shed had frozen within the gloominess ambiance but, then as time flew, we found comfort.

It was early in the morning as the sun had already risen, and so were the sunbeams reflecting through my window, that is, when I saw my mother coming back home from work with a strange man. It didn’t really get to me, though questions had already begun to ambush my comfort. As soon as they arrived, they called me. My mother introduced me to him, though I didn’t like the idea, I welcomed him for the sake of my mother’s will.

As time drifted away, me and my siblings begun to bond with him. He treated us like his children, so was us treating like our father. “Men hate to commit,” this myth haunted me since I was young until the day that I met my stepfather; it haunted me for I am a man. He was a man of God. He taught us bible sayings and showed us the path brimmed with green pastures; going to church services with us. He was very strict, but reasonable and his parental techniques showed commitment to our childhood.

My siblings called him father and I called him uncle. He was in his late 60s, and our bond wasn’t as tough as it was supposed to be. I wasn’t really living with my mother at that time. I was living with my grandmother as she lived near where I attended school. My stepfather always suggested that I should come and live with them. But, I didn’t like the idea because I was doing grade 12 and didn’t want to change schools as it would rob my mind.
On 9th January when Grade 12 results came out, I had passed with flying colours and he bought me a bible. In the middle of it, he had put R500 in an envelope attached to a letter reading “Well done son. May God be with you on your academic journey.”

I was very delighted and instantly began to read it from the beginning: Genesis. As tomorrow knocked on my door hurriedly, my stepfather had already begun to ask me of what I had read about, and it lifted me up to recite it better. I began to be more of God’s words, something that I never thought would happen.

As time caught my feet on the ground, I was at the church when the pastor recited Joel 1:3 from the bible, “Tell your sons about it, and let your sons tell their sons, and their sons the next generation.” These words made me love my stepfather even more as he taught me the best.

I never had time to thank him for all that he has done for me, and my family. He passed away in the early December in 2015. “Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; he will also delight your soul,” Proverbs 29:17, and so will I delight in his soul.