There is so much negativity on the air about Absentee fathers of late. Sauti Sol’s Nerea was just a trigger to the pent up emotions of women who have struggled to raise their children single handedly. The Kenyan father has his image tainted due to the many negative cases that have caught our attention. This is the reason why I would like to focus on the positives today and celebrate our dads.
Father’s day is a completely foreign phenomenon to the Kenyan mind. Mother’s day, valentines, Christmas and Easter could be enjoying much publicity in the Kenyan sphere. It usually is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. This year, it falls on June 21, 2015. Father’s day however is not as famous, as was evident from the brief argument we had on Sunday when a friend wished his father a happy father’s day, with a hug, albeit prematurely. The bone of contention was the date, the gesture was sentimental though.
There is even a Facebook account called Dead Beat Kenya used to shame parents who have abandoned their parenting roles. The number of men being shamed on this platform surpasses the ladies. Good news is that there is an upcoming page celebrating fathers and parents in general. The Facebook page is Alive Beat Kenya. Unfortunately, there is not much posted on the page to counter the negative narrative.
Recently I was involved in the Global Dialogues Jury process that was organized by HIVOS for the third time. The same narrative exists among young people below 25 years. The essays from primary school on domestic violence were alarming. They centered on women who were powerless and had either drunken husbands who were violent or fathers who were totally out of the picture. The situation was the same last year; I asked myself for the umpteenth time whether these children had been coached on what to write.
In as much as they may have done some things that left a bitter taste to our tongues, they are still our dads or dads to our children. Dads often feel left out as we celebrate all other seemingly “important people”. This father’s day let’s take time to celebrate fathers who have sacrificed their lives to raise children on their own. I know for a fact that they exist because my friend, with whom we had an “argument” about the date of father’s day, is an 18 year old boy being raised by a single father. I happen to have a few other friends who are single dads.
This reminds me of my dad. I think I have done so poorly on appreciating him just for being my dad. That’s an important role he has played in my life. Now I’m thinking of a gift that would put a smile on his face. May be a Microsoft Lumia 540 Dual SIM would just do the trick.
Apart from any gift, just telling him you love and appreciate him would do wonders. He may never respond to your text, because he is probably not used to that kind of talk. This is the same response I got last year when I sent a father’s day text to my dad- loud silence. Nonetheless, I will not give up. I will still send a message and probably accompany it with the Microsoft Lumia phone. The footprints that you will have left in the sands of the island of his heart would be remembered for a long time.