I had hoped to move on to another subject matter, away from the draining issues of femicide. That is until a visit from a persistent man with thought-provoking engagement. Moruti Strike Ben is a family counsellor at SDA, Mogoditshane.
Twice, he came knocking, and many times before and after we met, made telephone calls to share ideas and progress reports. His call? “What is it that I can do to help fight gender based violence?”
When we finally met on Wednesday, he explained the cry in my last column moved him so much that he could not stay still. He wants to get out there, within and outside the church, to move men, especially, into action. He wants to find and engage in practical ways to show that men care and can make a change. He wants to see Botswana return to normality, to the peaceful nature that our nation is known for.
What really got me thinking and back into engaging on the subject matter, is Moruti Ben’s question: where is the father? He says absent fathers are chiefly the reason behind the violent nature of most of our youth today. He reasons that the high levels of single headed families leads to children going astray, as the single struggling mother, is too overwhelmed to care and instil discipline.
He says in his professional line, as a pastor and counsellor, he has seen so much anger among the youth, and that in most cases, when he digs deep, he uncovers that these are youngsters from single headed families. It is that missing link, the father, which leads not only to the yearning for fatherly love and care, but also need for guidance and counsel. Even more for a boy, especially today where the extended family unit is collapsing, with no uncles or grandfathers to step in raising the boy child.
Not just the boy child, even young girls whose father’s presence and love can make a world of difference.
In this empty loveless world, I have seen men, fathers, who have gone an extra mile to ensure that they build strong independent children. I shared with Moruti Ben stories of two friends, whom in my view can help change mindset.
David Nkete, a military officer, who though tough in built and profession, is a man not afraid to share his leadership and caring nature in the home. Nkete is blessed with three beautiful girls. Time and again, on his Facebook page, he shares the activities he does with his beautiful talented trio. He does just about any activity you can think of with his girls, including hiking, and shooting. Yes, shooting. As a military man, he shares disciplinary and professional shooting lessons with his daughters, and
But the one action that stuck in my mind, is when the Botswana Defence Force officer took out his daughter on a date. He shared pictures of him taking his daughter out to an Officer’s banquet. Dressed to the nines, the immaculate young woman had the father opening and closing the car door for her, and ushering her into the banquet hall the way only a loving date would. At the table, he pulled the chair for her, and throughout the night, doted on her.
It was the picture of honour. Of love. A father giving and showing respect, care and love to his daughter. A doting father teaching his daughter she needs not settle for anything less.
I also shared a story of another friend. Political activists will not miss the name Moncho Moncho. The Botswana Congress Party activist is no softie.
Years back, Moncho dropped everything, ground political activism and profession, to follow his wife, Seskhutshwe Mogatle, to Denmark. When she took up a job at the UN in the European country, Moncho slid into the role of house husband. Against the attack and ridicule by some compatriots, Moncho shared their inspiring story: that when he was “wasting” family funds in politics, Mogatle left a high paying job in London to come to Botswana to support him. Now, Moncho said, was his turn not only to support his wife, but also to bring up his boys the best way possible. To him, it was to give 100% to the family.
There are many others who have made that conscious decision to be hands on in bringing up their children. No doubt children brought up by both parents, present in all other ways, and not just as financial providers, have a better chance of tackling life’s challenges.
Girls who have a 100% backing of the father and the mother, would give and demand 100% from future partners. Boys with present loving and guiding fathers, move into life confident and are not easily intimidated and challenged by independent partners. A present father, who provides for his children and family, gives reason for a better future for his children, who in turn are a blessing to the community.
My rallying call, therefore, to you absent father, is to find yourself home. We need you. For without you, our family, our community, our nation is lost.