Writer: Dimakatso Lukhele
As we ponder Father’s Day and appreciate the fathers in our lives, I can’t help but remember the many lessons of my dad. My father or should I say “Ntate’ (which means father in Sesotho) as I would call him lived a short life. I write this article with great honour and appreciation to God for giving me a father like him. What a legend!
I actually have a hard time speaking about my feelings. Those close to me reckon I’m secretive because when it comes to sharing about how I feel, I simply clam up. I hope this article makes you realise how amazing life is with the fathers in our lives.
My dad and I have always been extremely close. I was born in six months and my mom says when my dad saw me he said: “Ke motho ngwana eo?” (Is that a human being?) I was that tiny. I’m not even sure why, but I’ve always been daddy’s little girl. We understood each other like no one else, probably because we were so much alike. Both hard working, creative, slightly opinionated, and very stubborn.
He loved music; I guess that’s where I got my love for music and the arts from. (I enjoy live performances and all things artsy). My favourite times with my dad were us listening to music together- We would listen to the sounds of Tshepo Tshola, Budaza and Lucky Dube. We would talk about politics and everything that was anything at the time. Oh those were the days I tell you. I don’t know who loved that time more – my dad or I.
Ntate was the smartest person I know. I am so glad that I got to spend all that time with him. This humble man with essentially no formal education was the best teacher I ever met. The greatest gift that my dad gave me was the teachings of how I should always stand up for myself in this world. He taught me so well on how I should always stand up for myself that I soon started doing so with him (as I look back!).
For me being daddy’s little girl meant I had to toughen up while embracing my femininity. It prepared me to tackle life’s harshest lessons. When I left home to stay on my own at age 17, I was ready to take on the world. You see, I stayed with him for 17 years of my life but the teachings are skin deep. He was a businessman and the entrepreneurial spirit that I have comes from seeing him make his dreams come true because he didn’t want to work for anyone. Through his life, I know that in this life you can achieve anything you want if you are passionate about, and committed to, your dreams and goals.
I knew for quite a while that I didn’t have much longer with my dad as he had been slowly losing his health. He fought for his life for almost 10 years. There’s nothing worse in this world than watching someone you love so much slowly slip away and not being able to do a thing about it. Ntate’s life was short lived but all worth it. I tear up when I think of our days together as father and daughter but you see, I’m not sad because he lived his life to the full. In his last days he would always tell me that his day is done and it’s time to go. Which is something one doesn’t really understand but he was preparing me for Friday the 13th, January 2012 when he took his last breath. I lost my best friend, my life advisor, comedian (this man was hysterical) and most importantly my Ntate.
Through his passing I realised that life is short. We are not here to stay forever. Most of us waste time chasing dreams, working 24/7 and forgetting that those tasks are just an added benefit onto our lives. Teach your children what they need to know about life and most importantly be there for them. Celebrate your fathers (good or bad) they are not going to be here forever.
Can I be the motivational and inspirational mentor to my future kids that my dad was to me? What will my future children think of me when they look back? I think that if my dad were here, he would just tell me to live my best life and always be happy.
So today as you say happy Father’s Day to an influential man in your life either in person, with pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, on the phone or pointing those wishes to heaven, remember too to thank him for lessons taught and hopefully learned.