Fathers, where art thou?

Let me state for the record that growing up, I have never ever gone to bed on a hungry stomach.

Growing up in a family of four, I don’t recall a day where I had to go to bed because there was no food in the house.

If I ever did, it was only because I simply did not want to eat and even then, I had to be very smart about it. I grew up in an era where children were meant to be seen and not heard and at meal time, everybody at home had to gather at the dinner table and not leave until the parents said so.

 It did not matter whether you had snacked prior to meal time; you had to finish your meal anyway, whether you had appetite or not was of anybody’s concern.


If opportunity presented itself, hiding food in the oven or throwing it outside the window to the dogs when nobody was watching was the only way out, provided the dogs would be on standby outside.

It is only when I had a home and children of my own that I now realise just how fortunate I was back then. I never understood the entire hullabaloo my parents would always make back then at dinner time, where we were watched like hardened criminals at meal times and there would even be a stick under the table. You were only allowed to leave the dining room only when your plate was clean.

I hated peas, I still don’t like them and for a long time I mastered the art of hiding them under my tongue, only to spit them out once I was free. The apple never falls far from the tree and it didn’t take long for my little stunt to be discovered because from then onwards, my father would always initiate small talk before we left the table, very clever!

Two weeks ago, I accompanied a friend to the magistrate court where she had gone to summons someone at the small claims court.

I am not sure what happens at this particular court, but before her turn came, we both listened to people chatting, mostly about people owing them and how they were finally going to make them pay.

Further along the corridors, there was another queue, and this one seemed to be exclusively women with most of them carrying small babies.

I put it to everyone that the worst problem in our country at the moment isn’t the water crisis or even the HIV/Aids scrounge. The worst problem and for many years now, is that of fathers who are in the business of making babies, only for them to be hit by the proverbial train once the pregnancy is confirmed, or for some, even before the babies learn to say papa.  There is always this talk of people never really dying; that they actually get to be born again then return not as their former selves or even to their families.

While I would definitely want to come back exactly the way I am, how I wish such men would come back as women? God even knows I want them blessed with good looks and very fertile wombs!

On any given day, groups of women crowd magistrate courts on desperate bids just to force some fathers to become real fathers to their children. They may have missed the part of the fathering manual that talks about ‘providing’ for the children, and it is the role of these courts to enforce that section of the manual.

The only thing I despise about these courts is that these desperate women and children are not accorded any dignity and as a result, many women don’t even bother going this route.

I have seen many women curse at these courts, either because there were unexplained delays or because the magistrates handling these cases simply think children need simba chips to survive the month.

I am not the one to challenge the constitution or even court rulings, but which child in this day and age could survive on just P150 every month?

It is not the law that is the problem here; the problem is the fathers or perhaps the women themselves for their poor choice and even taste in men.

Not so long ago, before Kgosi Kgafela unceremoniously  left our shores, he had enacted a law in his district, whereby all men failing to provide for their children would be reported to him before being  forced to take care of their business the traditional way, even if it meant kicking and screaming.

For the time it seemed the Kgatleng men were going to be a hit with most ladies, only circumstances sadly changed and messed up this whole grand plan.

Editor's Comment
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Nowadays it is not uncommon to purchase an item for a certain commodity and return to the shops in a week, to find the same item has gone up by a significant amount of money.Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) last week announced yet another fuel price increase, which follows yet another increase that came into effect on March 29. Hardly two months later on May 12 boom, BERA announced yet another increase, which came into effect at a...

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