Being a father: I do not want my children to suffer

Date: January 1, 1970
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My name is Makhosonke Myende. I was born on March 2, 1983. I am the father of two children. I am this kind of father À“ someone who loves and cares for my children, takes responsibility, is respectful, and likes the magic moments, the surprises that come with raising kids. My life growing up was not easy and that made me want better for my children. I don’t want them to suffer as I did.

From the time I was young, I did not grow up with my father. I was living with my grandmother, the mother of my Mom in Escort. Sometimes she would go out to work leaving me in the care of my aunts and uncles. Here I suffered a lot. I lived there until I was 9-years old.
When I was still very small my job was to look after the cows, sheep and goats. My younger brother isSithembiso and I were not happy at all living without our mother or father. We did not go to school. At the place where we stayed, no one who was willing to assist us. In fact, they treated us as slaves.
When a cow was lost, I would not go home maybe for three days, until I found the cow; otherwise, I was scared that they would beat me. Life without a father was difficult.
I remember the very good day when my mother came to take us to go to live with our father. My brother and I were very happy to hear that, although on the other side I was sad to leave my grandmother, because she was with us though the good days and the bad days.
Finally, we travelled to Johannesburg with our mother to where my father was staying. My father loved us and thought of what was best for us kids. He put us in school which made us very happy. He used to provide for us and I loved him very much. I was happy to be with him.
The sad part of the story is that my father was psychologically unwell. He would have fits; sometimes he was fine, sometimes not. We went from traditional doctor to traditional doctor, hospital to hospital looking for medicine. Our money became finished and I left school to work, though I continued to push myself, attending school at night.
One night when I was 15-years old, he got up and went out of the house. After he left the house, we could not find him. We searched everywhere for him. We went to the hospitals and even put a notice inThe Sowetan, but until now, we never saw him again.
As a young man, I became involved in things that were not good for me. I later realised that this would lead me nowhere in life.
So, I like to spend most of my time with my children because I do not want them to experience what I experienced in life. My wish is that God will allow me to live a long life so that I can see my children succeed. My priority is to make means so that they can go to a better school and do well in life.
Other fathers out there they run away from their children because they do not understand how beautiful it is to be responsible for their kids. As for me, I live for my kids, they are a blessing from God.
Even though life is not easy, I think of it not as a problem but a challenge. I will stand beside my kids and take care of them  in the good times and the bad times.
Makhosonke Myende is a fitness trainer and father of two. This article is part of the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service.

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