I hope you all had a soothing and relaxing festive season.
Saturday Dialogue with Ropafadzo Mapimhidze
Although the situation in Zimbabwe doesn’t look too good, I never really want to think negatively about life in general especially at the start of a new year.
This is because, that negativity, discharges through the following months, spoiling positives that may have come along the way.
I am aware of the difficult times many people are going through but losing sleep or pondering over these problems will not help at all.
Life has never been a rosy road . . . We have our ups and downs, lows and highs . . . Life is a road filled with thorns and bumps.
And by the way those situations are not permanent.
Let’s keep the faith and say: “it will get better.” And yes it will . . .
It’s back to my first column of the year 2014.
I received a distressing call from one of my many maternal cousins, who said her mum had sent her packing back to Harare when she visited her in the rural areas.
What was her crime? Her dad, who she had never seen, had apparently contacted her, and she wanted to seek permission from her mum to allow her meet him.
I do not know how her dad got my telephone number, and called me sometime last year.
Although I had never met this man, I was very astounded, but also very happy to hear from him.
This man had apparently lied that he was a bachelor and hence my cousin turned her back on him, when she discovered that he actually had a family.
He, however, had not denied paternity.
This cousin was never told who her dad was and asking her mum about him would be met with hostility.
Her mum did not want to talk about the matter, and hence paternity of this young woman, who is now married and has three children, remained a mystery.
When I received the telephone call, I immediately sought my cousin’s mobile number from some relatives and broke the “good” news to my cousin.
She was excited and sobbed over the phone and kept asking: “Is my dad truly alive?”
It was the most defining moment for her. I had only met this cousin only once ever since she was born at a family wedding with her husband and that was it.
It, however, remains a mystery how her dad got to know that I am related to this cousin’s mother.
I then took a major stride and called her mum as soon as I had spoken to this “mysterious” man.
The response was rather antagonistic and hostile. “What does he want? I have nothing to do with him . . . I raised this child alone and he must remain in my dark past.”
I argued that this young woman deserved to know who her dad was, whether or not the father had denied paternity.
But I remember very well events that led to this scenario in the late ’80s.
She was hurt to learn that he was married and did not want to be in a polygamous relationship.
Although I haven’t seen her for nearly two decades now, the hate she displayed as she talked to me over the phone was rather disturbing.
I could feel the bitterness and anger piercing through my ears as she repeatedly said . . . “I don’t want anything to do with that man . . . I will not forgive him for what he did.”
The words were just too strong and they still ring in my ears every time I think about this conversation.
Father of this cousin says he wants to meet the customary obligation and pay chiredzwa (maintenance) in the form of several cows.
Getting dumped, especially from a serious relationship, is one of the worst emotional pains anyone can experience.
Generally it comes as a surprise and feels as if your whole world has crashed down around you.
The feeling resembles that of someone that has lost a loved one through death.
The devastating pain of getting “dumped” is by the way not gender specific.
Men, too, hurt just as much as women, though they may act out in different ways.
Many children have never lived with both their parents and it is often their father whom the children do without, while many, sadly, do not even know who their dad is.
There are mothers who do not want the father on the scene for various reasons, some good and some not so good.
In the case of all children, but boys in particular, the absence of a father can be extremely detrimental.
Fathers play a strong male role model to a boy’s social development.
Although no one has control over the causes of broken relationships, it is vital for both parents to stay fully engaged with their offspring.
But it is not always the case, unfortunately.
How often have we heard messages on radio, or read letters published in newspapers by people wanting to know their parentage?
These offspring normally just want to know and not that they want to get involved with the “deserted” parent/s.
I am at pains as to how I will convince my cousin’s mother to allow her meet her biological father.
In the meantime, I will continue engaging the “warring” parties.