Botswana: Dad, my great teacher

Botswana: Dad, my great teacher

Date: September 9, 2014
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Gaborone, 15 June: Life does not bless everyone with a great father. As father’s day approaches and as the memories flood back, I realise that I was blessed with a father who left an indelible mark on me. My father taught me to walk the talk and what it means to live an unwavering life.

He was a devoted family man and member of the clergy who always practiced what he preached. Through his daily prayers and bible study, I learnt to do the same. The community also really respected him. I remember one day a man approached my father and said, “I have been observing you for some time and I want to worship the same God you worship.”

My dad was an avid reader and he was the person who taught me to read. When I started primary school my reading and writing skills were far more advanced than my peers. Throughout my schooling career, he made sure my siblings and I did our homework. During high school, he would wake up early every morning to heat up water, so we could bath.

Even though he was a committed clergyman, he ran a number of businesses to support our family. First, he managed a taxi business, then a fast food shop, dabbled in soap making and even in his old age, he ran a chicken business. He always made ends meet and there was not a single night that we went to bed hungry. His family was his top priority. He taught me that if I worked hard, was innovative, had clear priorities and lived true to my principles, I would always have a clear conscience and be a success.

Today I am a music producer and I know that it was his love for music that inspired me along this path. He would make us sing in church and practice at home after school. As a kid I never thought much of this, but as an adult I realise that if it was not for my dad’s encouragement, I would not have known so much about music. He may not have had the chance to listen to it, but I know he would be proud.

I never heard my dad tell my mom that he loved her, but I definitely saw it and for me this was a lesson on love.
He never once laid a hand on her or uttered a word that made her cry. There was never a day he came back home late without us knowing where he had been. Without needing any reason, he would arrive home with a gift or surprise for my mom, just to show his love and gratitude. When mom worked late at the hospital, he would always wait up and fetch her. My father also taught me how to love other people and accept them for who they are.

His death came so sudden. Receiving the news of the car accident over the phone gave me goose bumps. The two weeks of not knowing whether he would make it or not were long and difficult. He has been gone for five years now, but his legacy remains. I will pass on the lessons he taught me to my own children in years to come. If my dad could read this, I would say, “Thank you for being there, for being my hero and my great teacher.”

Levi Mberego is a media student at the University of Botswana. This tribute is part of the GL News Service special series celebrating phenomenal fathers, offering fresh views on everyday news.


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