When I started writing this note, I made it long. Actually, I lie, it became long. I deleted the first draft and then decided to keep it simple, because writing about this dynamic human being has proved he cannot be fully captured in an article — a book would be more fitting.
Mahlobo. Ntombela. Mpangazitha ka Malandela. Shomela ka Mgijima. Mashiy’ amahle. Nzuza. Dlukula. Dlele. Sidlukula samakhosi. Wen’ wakwaMpukunyoni. Wena wezulu likaDidi. Mageba. Wen’ ozal’ uZulu.
From the simple acts of how he walks, right to the way he laughs, which is loud and a bit eccentric — coming to think of it, one of the many ways I’ve taken after him — you witness a man of immeasurable quality. A man whose mental prowess is second to none. A man so resolute and confident it’s often difficult not to follow his lead. A man so unique I seldom meet men like him. A man so great at being an observant life student, he has indirectly instilled in me the fascination and realisation of the importance and power of the minutiae.
He is a man not perfect.
Actually, far from it. My Dad has been great in spite of all his flaws and the many mistakes he has made; and herein lies true strength and genius. Though early in my life I wished him to change and “be a better man”, but upon growing up I realised there’s so much more to a man than his flaws. And from that emerged lot of love and appreciation for the guy.
With his strict nature, I often felt he was being impossible at times (no, all of the time). Here also, I grew to appreciate his strict nature. I remember how he always argued with my mother about rules he’d enforce at home. For instance, he never wanted me and my younger brother to own toy guns and bicycles. His argument was that if he bought us the guns, we would grow up, buy real ones and terrorise him and society with them; a bicycle felt too dangerous for his liking as we’d wander around busy roads and be in harm’s way. His firm stance, those stern decisions and many others throughout our lives have played an important role in how we have turned out. Which is impressive, I’ll be the first to admit.
My Dad is one of those people who speaks and you listen. You have to, or you might miss pearls of wisdom which will serve you well in your life. He’s always been a gentleman with incredible insight. And I’ve found that often, I pick up valuable advice from the man during our casual conversations, where I often roll on the floor laughing. He is a funny man and a light take on things might just be the advice you need to note. I love him for being literally a un-containable person. He detests being put in a box, he’s a man who knows no limits and thus fiddles with boundaries and takes pleasure in breaking them.
He is uncompromising about who he is and what he stands for. He is smart. He may look tough on the outside, but really is tender-hearted. His strict nature comes coupled with his ability to lighten up a mood with his humour and a very loud and frantic laugh.
My father is an epitome of strength, he’s gone through a lot of difficult times in his life. He rolls with the punches life deals him. I thank him for having fathered me and my siblings and continuing to contribute to our lives with his incredible mind.
His money-cannot-buy teachings continue to act as a compass for me in my life.
Usually, the conversations I have with him pick me up from emotional doldrums. At times, we don’t talk a lot in each other’s company, sitting quietly in his presence is enough.
My father, my beloved hero. Iqhawe.