I am Mpho Kgapane, known as MK. I was born and raised in Maphalle. I grew up in a family with an absent father. My childhood consisted of my mom; my dad was in the city of lights.

Mom always complained about how stingy my dad was when he was not sending money. I grew up with the mindset that I had a stingy dad. Dad left his Job in 2007 and he came back home to Maphalle village. I was so happy to see him. I thought he had come to see us, kanti, no, marn ndoda se iphelelwe imsebenzi. Mom never stopped insulting Dad. The more she did, the more I hated him. I never wanted to know who was wrong. I was quick to judge.

Time flew by and it was the year 2018. I was doing Grade 11. That same year, on the 16th of June, my mom’s sickness started. It started like a joke, but it grew with time. On the 2nd of December that same year, mom died. I was lost in agony and pain. My heart was swimming in the pool of regret. The question that was revolving around my head was why, but, why? Before my mom passed, she told me that if anything happened to her, I should stay with my dad. I would have preferred to take my stuff and go to the maternal family. As soon as the burial had happened, I took my things and went to my sister’s apartment. Stella, my older sister, decided to stay with the maternal family, since she had a mental illness.

Moving to my own space was all I needed at that time. I got the fresh air I deserved, but, hey, I cried all year. My mom’s death was like a knife to my heart. My mom was my all-in-one. She was my friend when I needed one. I remember she used to advise me about girls, you’d hear her say, “My child, if you want the girl all to yourself, you must date ugly girls, no one will take them away from you.”

I was able to spend a whole day with her without getting bored but always smiling. Now that I was staying in my sister’s apartment, I had to be dependent, I had to start from scratch. Relatives had promised to support me, but I never saw them after the funeral. The SIM card was thrown away. It’s clear they wanted nothing to do with me. I am a very bold guy. I kept on pushing life without any help from anybody. I survived on the money left from my mom’s death.

In the year 2019 I was doing my matric. I was under high levels of stress. Matric results came out in the year 2020, and I saw that I didn’t make it. I became drunk without drinking. I felt dizzy…yes, I thought of taking my life, but I did not. I told myself that I was not quitting.

It was the time of school reopening when I passed by my real home where I used to stay with both of my parents. Now it was only my dad staying alone.

“People are busy getting school stationery, what about you?” he asked.

“I am done with school, I am not going back there,” I said.

He was surprised but he managed to sit me down and talk me out of it. That stingy man gave me his bank card and pin and told me to go buy each and every thing I needed for school. The joy I had in my heart. I bought shoes, trousers and a backpack. I bought expensive ones, so they would last longer. From that time he was always there for me when I needed him. I know he wasn’t perfect, but he managed to show me love and care. I really have no doubt that I am his son by blood. All the money for school trips and extra lessons, I got it from him. He even went to the loan sharks just for me to get that matric. I am what I am because of his persistence. This shows me that my dad was indeed a loving parent, it’s just words that painted him as bad. I matriculated in the year 2021.

I woke up at 5am. I unlocked my phone and checked my messages. I was blown away by the text message I got: I had obtained a Bachelor’s pass. I was over the moon, I felt like I was in heaven. I still remember the joy on my father’s face when I told him the news. He was so happy that all the struggle he went through actually paid off. I managed to make myself and my dad proud. He didn’t buy me a present for passing, but I didn’t worry because the best present he gave me was his time and his love.

After all that, my dad was sick. He was in and out of hospital, due to kidney problems.
I took care of him in the month of early February. I cooked for him, sweat pea soup and whatever he needed. In the month of March he was rushed to hospital by an ambulance. He remained in hospital for a month. On the 6th of April 2021, he left this world. I don’t wanna lie, his death didn’t touch me like my mother’s death. I was strong as a man. I gave him a dignified funeral, like he deserved. I salute him.

Now I have inherited his house. My plan is to build a very big house right here on his soil.


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