Happy Father’s Day! The past weekend was awash with children wishing their fathers a joyous day, of course without the usual blame of the day being hijacked by mothers who are raising their children without the aid of a present father! That is not the point of the day — what we seek to do is to celebrate fathers in all their amazing colours whether we favour that respective colour or not is another conversation.
The father’s day weekend also brought about reflections around the country and our fathers — oh, our dear beloved fathers — be it city fathers, presidential fathers, uncles of the nations, heroes or whatever colour they are hewn from. The questioning never ever stops for the children; we continue to do soul searching in the hope that beyond this wonderful remembrance day dedicated for fathers, there should be light at the end of the tunnel for us, the children.
Fathers! I recall when I was growing up in the many ghettos I have been privileged to live in, mothers from the different households would gather to talk about the fathers of their households. This was such a common practice in the neighbourhood, churches, women’s spaces of any nature.
The topic was about fathers who chose to abandon their children for the younger and more favourable women! It was not so much the woman that the fathers chose; it was more to do with the father’s neglecting their responsibilities to take care of the families. Most mothers then did not work and when they did have jobs, it was not as well paying as the fathers. Hence our everpresent feminist agenda! Anyways, let me not get sidetracked — the story of the fathers also was topical amongst the children who, at most times, had no idea what was happening save the fact that lifestyles had changed and struggles multiplied with the absence of the fathers in some respect.
This story reminds me of Zimbabwe today. Well, the fathers are there, some are even in the households but choose to watch the children suffer. You think this article is about households — well, yes! Zimbabwe as a household. I still do not understand how in the household children cannot get enough to eat, why roads have holes the size of a crater or how most of the infrastructure in this household still does not function at the levels it ought to
Just recently, our sister Moreblessing Ali was murdered and no one seems to give an ear to the levels of femicide — where are the fathers? Moreover, the chaos emanating from this murder, led by the fathers, is not something to admire at all. Fathers ought to protect, provide and promote their children.
imbabwe boasts of very high literacy levels; those that care enough to calculate place it at 88,69%, pretty impressive one would note. However, what boggles the mind is how with such a high literacy rate, our fathers still seem to be struggling to figure out the most basic of elements that would enable their children who are the citizens of Zimbabwe to thrive so as to live a near normal life with functionality. The levels have become so bad that even some hotels in the capital city, Harare, have normalised bathing in a bucket because of power outages — ah! This father’s leadership is clearly struggling at many levels — happy Father’s Day indeed as we might be happy just for this day and in words as all else is very, very unhappy. The children of Zimbabwe are choking, we cannot breathe and are struggling to make ends meet. Well. That is the majority of us not that exclusive club of fathers and those they father — we need to change and change urgently if respect which is due to our fathers is going to be rendered duly.
We are exasperated Every child wants to look at their father as the hero of the day! We want to open the tap and see water; we want to switch on the lights and it switches on, we want to hear the children play on the street and giggle and not shout “magetsi adzoka” (power is back), we want to proudly say that we are the children of Zimbabwe and our fathers went and fought for our liberation through the relentless efforts of being part of nationalist movements!
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We want to celebrate Father’s Day and our fathers are inundated by the love that overflows from the gratitude of our hearts. We can look up to our fathers and trust in their every word because we know they are leaders of integrity whose word is their bond!
As children, we are exasperated at every turn — it is exhausting and now we are defined by terminal illnesses that we cannot even afford to keep under check. That is the children we have become. Living in fear should be a thing of the past, our laws should protect the children of the nation of Zimbabwe because our fathers who spend so much of our hard-earned cash that is so taxed, will be living up to what they promised when we elected them and sent them to parliament for our representation.
Yes, we indeed can. Without that, we shall always know what it means for fathers to exasperate their children and this is never a good place to live our lives. To the children, hang on in there — do not be still, do whatever you can to make a difference. Let us speak to our fathers — if they have left and are staying with their new lover, let us make contact so we are able to ask them to pay for the school fees and provide for the most basic of needs. You and I can ensure that Zimbabwe is a better place by speaking our truth to our fathers so that they do not exasperate us! Until then, we live, laugh and love in a bid to show the world that we were here, becoming better, making our mark, leaving our footprint as we make the world a better place!
- Grace Ruvimbo Chirenje writes in her personal capacity as a citizen of Zimbabwe. Follow her on social media for more Lifezone with Grace conversations on Twitter: @graceruvimbo; Facebook: Grace Chirenje; Instagram: @graceruvimbo.