Namibia: I call him ‘Superman’

Namibia: I call him ‘Superman’

Date: October 28, 2014
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Windhoek, 15 June: My Father lost his father at the tender age of 12-years old and my late grandmother raised him and his siblings. Being the eldest was a lot of pressure, but he rose to the challenge. After school, he worked part-time to contribute to the household and help get his siblings through school. When I think back to when I was twelve, I can’t even imagine having managed such a feat. That’s just one of the reasons I call him Superman.

He never had anyone to show him the ropes or to take the premature weight off his shoulders, yet he and my mother raised five brilliant children. His bedtime stories took us on mythical, humorous and deeply emotional journeys. I still think he is the best storyteller around. His love for music rubbed off on all of us. I’ll never forget the image of him dancing to his favourite Soul Brothers track. Until this day, I turn up the volume whenever I hear his favourite songs playing.

As I reflect on the wonderful memories I have shared with my dad over the years, I am also encouraged to peep into the future and think about the many tough decisions that lie ahead of me. One day I will raise my own family, and fortunately, I will do this with the wisdom and courage that he has instilled in my brothers and I. Dad has also helped me live up to my name “Jethro”, which means to strive and succeed. I want to follow in my Superman’s footsteps.

I remember the rides home in the car after the parent-teacher meetings, where my mother and father would encourage me to find a balance between sports and schoolwork, “Stay focused on your education,” they would say. After graduating from school, I realised just how important this encouragement was. Even now at varsity, his “well done son” still humbles me. During my studies in Europe, he called every Sunday to make sure I was working, warm and safe.

I broke down in tears when he was first diagnosed with cancer. He was a shell of the man. I kept asking the same questions over again, “What can I do? Why is this happening? Why aren’t the doctors doing enough? He is supposed to be ok, he is my Superman!” And, indeed he was, because dad beat prostate cancer.

My dad’s journey is an inspiration to me and to anyone who needs or desires to pursue the impossible. He gave everything to everyone, even when there was little to give. He is the humblest and most generous person I know, constantly assisting others. Even though transport is so difficult in the village where he has retired, he still attends every funeral and lends a hand to anyone that needs help, and does this with a smile no matter the hour.

Thanks to my dad, at 22, I have matured and I can walk on my own two feet. Although he is just a phone call away, I really miss him because there are still so many things I want to experience together with him, whether it be kicking balls with grandchildren or having interesting conversations with my girlfriend and I.

No matter how old I get, my dad will forever be Superman. Life has no guarantees, and he may not meet his grandchildren, but I will tell his story and live his legacy. I hope to grow into the father whose children call him “Superman.”

Jethro Kwenani is a student at the Polytechnic of Namibia. This tribute is part of the GL News Service special series celebrating phenomenal fathers, offering fresh views on everyday news.



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