My Escape From Poverty – Part 8

After being an absent father for most of his life, my biological father decided to send me a friend request on Facebook. The irony of a friend request was not lost to me. Interestingly, it was around the same time FW de Klerk’s passing was announced.

I only saw this dude twice in my whole life, and both times were at Family Court. He never supported us. Not financially, not emotionally, nothing. He was absent, and he was not a father to my brother and me. So my grandfather had to step in and be the father he was supposed to be.

Growing up as a kid, one of my worst experiences was when someone asked, “Waar is jou pa? (Where is your father?). Or “Wie is jou pa?” (Who is your father). Those were difficult questions to answer because I knew his name, but I did not know him. We also knew where he was staying, and he knew where we were staying, but he did not care to visit. He was not interested in how we were doing.

I have to admit, when I was still in primary school, I wanted his parental care, especially when things were terrible. For example, when there was no clothes to wear or no food to eat. Although I am aware that apartheid engineered poverty for non-whites in South Africa, I hold him equally responsible for the poverty, abuse and depression we experienced as children. He, like my mother, is equally responsible for my brother’s drug addiction.

After years of trying to get him and my mother to support us, my grandparents decided to become our legal guardians. This meant that they had to suspend their parental rights. He only came because he was subpoenaed. I remember that both times at the court, he did not look at my brother and me.  He made his choice clear – we did not exist. He engraved his choice on my mind, and I accepted it.

Since then, he has been dead to me. Thus, I do not know why he resurrected his ghost on the same day FW de Klerk passed away. Nobody asked for him. To me, he is dead – he does not exist. So I denied his friend request and blocked him on Facebook – I have sent him back to the grave he came from.

4 thoughts on “My Escape From Poverty – Part 8

  1. This is deep and heartbreaking. How parents make choices that haunt or shape trajectories for us kids that should not be a burden of someone who did not have a choice to be brought into this world. Glad to know your path found a different story and life to live.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t grow up without a father. At the age of 5/6 my mom married a terrific man who never made me feel like a stepchild at all…but I remember the years before he arrived: my mom reading me bedtime stories and me wondering why I had a mom and a granny, instead of a mom and a dad.

    Not once did I ask about him though, I just assumed he died or just didn’t want to be a part of my life.

    I finally got a Bachelors Degree in Education and started teaching and suddenly the weirdest people inboxed me on Facebook saying that my biological father wants to connect and meet me…23years too late!
    Let the dead do what they do best: stay dead!

    I salute you for making a success, mr Cloete and I fully understand how heartbreaking it is that your brother is still trapped. But you both had the same opportunities and him choosing a different path is not on you. But who are we if not our sibling’s keepers?

    Thank you for your amazing writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Lesley-Ann for sharing your story, and congratulations on your B.Ed. I hope you keep studying and one day graduate with your PhD.

      Healing takes time and it is instances like these that we can reflect on the progress we made in terms of healing. I have came a long way but there is still some healing that need to take place.

      Liked by 1 person

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