On my drive home from work on Wednesday, I tuned on to Duma FM to catch the weekly dose of Recton Mazhani’s Meet the Overcomers programme. I caught it mid-way, just when the guest was speaking of the pain of growing up without a father.
The bitterness of his voice was so real when he described what and how the boy child goes through in life, without the guidance and love of a biological father.
The guest, a young musician by the name of Boyson Mokone AKA G-word, described how the absence of father led him to wayward life, so much that as a form Two student, though a talented rapper, he was already doing drugs.
He explained that when he was writing his Cambridge exams, in 1997, he was moving in a stupor that all the papers he wrote after lunch, he failed as he would spend the mornings shooting drugs.
What broke my heart, was his next chapter. “At 19, when my former mates were doing that last Tirelo Sechaba, I was inside, I was in jail…”
He explained that he was at maximum prison, accused of rape, which he could not recall because at the time, he was always high on drugs. He denies the crime. It was his description of what he planned doing once released that had me shaking.
While serving, Mokone says he became so bitter, that he would sit and plan, in detail, how he was going to take revenge on women.
He says he would, in his mind, and even on paper, plan how he would inflict pain, torture and slaughter women. “It was just that one woman (the accuser) who hurt me, but I decided all women would pay…”
Good Lord, we need to wake up and heed these voices. The bitter cry of the boy child is piercing the soul.
Three things stood out from the interview with the now reformed, and champion in the fight against drug abuse and gender-based-violence: the effects of an absent father, the damage drugs do to individuals and families, and how the mind of a ‘serial killer’ works. Mokone did not use the word serial killer, and thankfully did not go on to slaughter women as he had planned, though during the course of discussion, he mentioned having tried to kill his family.
His testimony, however, draws one to the scary conclusion that had he not found a path of positive change, becoming a Born-again Christian, we would have had a serial killer or rapist in our hands.
In fact, he explained that during his destructive days he was known as Rudeboy, once reformed, he changed his stage name to G-Word, which is God’s Word, as he believes what one names self, comes to pass. Just as the Setswana saying
What Mokone’s testimony woke me to is what lack of parental love can, and does to a fertile growing mind. I wonder just how many of today’s killers, rapists and molesters are as a result of parental absence, and/or abuse.
There is of course, research locally and internationally that speaks of these. There is empirical evidence that shows that abused boys grow up to abuse, while abused girls throw themselves to abusers later in life. That is research, and it has statistics to back it. But mostly it talks of physical and sexual abuse.
I have come of little which speaks of the damage of an absent father, and how that emptiness, the hollow feeling does to a child, a boy child especially.
And research, however scientific, hardly gives you the reality of listening to a hurting person, the bitterness and the poisoned mind that can, and does unleash violence when opportunity avails itself. I have seen that face, of teenage boys and girls whom a look in the eye, tells you “back off, lest I do you harm.” Living in one of the most troubled villages, of Thamaga, I have come across teenagers in gangs, with dark soulless eye, whose lives have been destroyed by drugs and crime.
These are the youngsters who have turned schools and playgrounds, into violent battle grounds. These are the youngsters who even the law enforcement officers do, without telling, fear. With a bleak future. When you probe, you will learn that in most cases, these children, who terrorise the village, come from broken down families, with not father in sight.
In fact, as evidenced in recent debates around GBV, men especially have come out with guns blazing accusing gender activists of bearing fault for neglecting the boy child in the last decades of driving the empowerment of women and the girl child.
There is some truth in that.
But I still hold that men are especially the guilty parties, for it is mainly the absent father who has let down the family, and the community; and in the process built nations of bitter, anchorless children.
The boy-child especially needs to find and connect with the father, lest we find ourselves with a nation of more bitter and dangerous young men. Time is nigh to rally around the boy child, and reverse the effects of neglect.