Something About Daddy

Dedicated to the memory of my dad, affectionately known as Mdala Jele

“Tickle tickle daddy” I was in feasts of laughter as I reached for my daddy’s belly to tickle him and in expectation he will tickle me back. Sure, enough he gave me one big long tickle and I released a continuous belly laughter, while already rolling on the carpet uncontrollably. We tussled, trying to out- tickle each other and enjoy each other. Tickles from daddy were fun, innocent and safe. They were from my daddy to my daddy.

I was sitting on daddy’s broad shoulders, seeing the world from his shoulders

Another scene: ‘Come to daddy maJe, your little legs are tired’’. I so much want to resist, you see I want to exercise my independence and prove to daddy that I am capable of doing it on my own strength. Gently, he strokes my head and let me have it my way. Well that ‘I’m going it alone attitude soon evaporates as I realise actually, I can’t do it alone. Noticing that my little legs couldn’t take me any further, he held out his arms without a word, and I, without saying much, launched myself into his arms. One scoop, and I was sitting on daddy’s broad shoulders, seeing the world from his shoulders. Our destination for the day, much to mum’s annoyance, to watch some Division One football match. That was a moment between father and daughter. Yours truly was happy that mum was not part of this adventure for she would have ‘spoiled my fun’. Being with daddy on my own meant being let loose for a little while. Eat all things sweet to my hearts content, run around like crazy, roll on the grass, letting ice cream melt all over me. Being with daddy was so much fun.

He cushioned me from hitting my head onto the ground

Scene 3 : ‘’Catch me daddy’’ The swing had been pushed as high as little me could manage. I was getting a bit afraid and I’m positive daddy  sensed my fear too. ‘’You are doing well maJe’’ He gave me thumbs up. ‘Do you want to jump off the swing’’ Without even taking time to process that statement or request, I was ready to jump off the swing from its high fly. Lunging myself off I shouted, ‘Catch me daddy’. My daddy knew, I liked jumping off the swings into his big strong loving arms. I was prepared to do it one more time. You see, I had no reason to doubt or fear for my safety. Daddy had always caught me into the safety of his arms. So, I jumped straight into his arms, daddy somewhat tripped, but he made sure I fell on top of him and he only made contact with the hard ground. He cushioned me from hitting my head straight onto the ground, taking the full impact.

Daddy is the above and much more. When he tickles you, he not only brings the best laughter out of you, he brings the best of himself- simply being daddy. Daddy is happy to appear ‘silly’ so you can laugh at him. He has the ability to bring a smile to your face when you have 101 reasons not to.

Daddy, allows you to be you. He allows you to push yourself, while he lingers in the background to lift you up when you feel tired, overwhelmed and vulnerable. Daddy does not force his strength and capabilities on you, he allows you to explore and find out on your own. He is aware of your curiosity to the world around you. When the world rears its nasty head, daddy picks you up and places you on his shoulders. While you are on his shoulders, he allows you to marvel at what you envisage as a new world, only this time you view it from the comfort of his broad shoulders. When daddy places you on his shoulders, he wants you to embrace your enormity and the huge potential that you possess. Daddy wants you to be fearless.

‘Catch me daddy’, When daddy beckons you jump and land on his tough strong body, he wants you trust and see the good in others. He also wants to know that others might fail you but daddy will always be there. When he trips while making every effort to catch you, he is in fact saying, yes, I am your superhero, BUT I am human too and I will trip at times while attempting to be your superhero. Daddy shows me he is not a supernatural being, but he is being daddy.

This opportunity is to say, thank you to all our daddies, to honour you and to let you know we appreciate you more than we can express. We take this opportunity to say to all uncles, male teachers, youth leaders, brothers and everybody else who has taken up the mantle in being daddy, THANK YOU.

We honour the memory of all our daddies who have fallen asleep to the sleep of death. We hold on to the memories we made while you carried us on your shoulders, the memories of flying off a swing so you could catch us, the memories draw us closer and sometimes we forget that we no longer have you here with us.

To those of our daddies who have no access to us your children, we wish things could be different. We also appreciate you and implore you to never give up the fight for us your princesses and princes. Do all within your power to be part of our memories.

To those who wish daddy was around, allow all other good, wise father figures wiling to take you under their wings mentor you and help you realise your possibility.

Fathering is about nurturing a possibility

On Father’s Day, think of what possibility needs to be nurtured- in yourself, family, country and the world at large so as to create a consciousness of wholeness, of generosity, of kindness, of connection. Commit to loving the task of doing it.


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