The World’s Worst Fathers

Image: LA Progressive My mind keeps flitting to this year’s Father’s Day and an incident that happened on Twitter. While most people were praising their fathers, this girl (whom I won’t mention) shared a thread about her abusive father and how he isn’t, for lack of a better word, shit. She wished her mother a happy father’s day for being both father and mother to her and her siblings and prayed her father rots in hell. People were angry that she deigned to say such things about her father. One guy in particular was so mad, he started a thread of his own. The crux of his thread was that he didn’t want to hear about her father being horrible, that she should have kept it to herself and worse, that she was a useless child for airing those things about her father. I was livid at the guy (and other people like him) for bashing the girl. I wondered why it was okay for them to praise their fathers on their own timelines but it wasn’t okay for the girl to call out her father on her timeline. I remember tweeting along those lines and saying that everyone had a right to whatever emotion they had and it was wrong to shut people down because they do not look or think like us. Today however, the incident has me thinking about the reasons why that girl spoke about her father like that. I played all the scenarios of fathers I have met and been told about and I couldn’t help but conclude that there are some really horrible fathers out there. So…here is my list of the world’s worst fathers;           1.     THE ‘BREAD LOSER’: If the bread winner is one who takes care of the family, the ‘bread loser’ is my word for one who doesn’t. People know that in many homes, the mother is the breadwinner of the family. She works or trades to ensure the family is catered for while maintaining the ruse that the father provides the money. Now, I am not hammering on men who cannot take care of their families – probably from illness, disability or recent job loss – but men who won’t take care of their families. There was this time in film school when we were doing emotional exercises and one of the acting students shared her experience. In her words, she was glad her father was dead. Many people balked at that statement but I wanted to know why. Thing is, her father had been a deadbeat father. He never provided for any of their basic necessities, choosing to spend whatever he made on himself. It was so bad that at his death, they had nothing! They were forced out of their house and their properties reclaimed to settle his debts. They had to live in an uncompleted building for months until someone took pity on them. Hearing her talk was about the hardest thing I could do. The pain was so raw that there wasn’t a dry eye in that room. And though some of our course mates said she should never have said something like that, I understood. You cannot imagine how horrible it is to have a father who lets you go hungry while being the man-about-town in bars and clubs or who makes you suffer the shame of being driven from school every term for school fees; or having a father who spends money on clothes and cars but doesn’t care that you are wearing rags; or even having a father who spends money eating grilled fish with cronies every night while the family eats Miyan Kuka every day.  These kinds of fathers deserve to be on the list of the world’s worst fathers.           2.     THE CASANOVA; These are the fathers who chase and date anything in skirts; or trousers. Everyone knows they are philanderers, flirts, womanizers or just plain licentious. Their wives and children bare the shame for these men who seem to have no shame. These are the ones who bring in their side pieces into their matrimonial homes and beds when the wife takes a simple two-day trip. They are the ones who dishonor their children with their unabashed lack of restraint and strength of character. There is this friend of mine whose father is a professor. Each new academic year brought him a bevy of fresh undergrads for his taking. When the guy was in 300L, he met a girl who, coincidentally, was one of his father’s side pieces. After the initial anger, he and the girl became friends. I was shocked when he told me that. I wondered at his decision until he explained. ‘My father doesn’t care two-bits about us. He gives us a basic allowance and when something new comes up and we need more money, he tells us he has done his part. I know he spends a lot of money on his girls; they even brag about it. So when I became friends with the girl, I told her how he treats us. She came up with the idea that whenever I need something, I could pass it unto her and she would get the money from my father. And true to her word, when asking for her allowance from my father, she would add the amount I needed and that was how I got by in school.’ Horrible, right? No! This guy needed to get basics for school; basics that his father wouldn’t give him but would give a girl he was fucking seeing. No wonder he had to do what he could to get some money. Some of these men may not openly disrespect their families but they are still Casanovas. How do I know? I have been propositioned by men whom I knew were married and whose children could be my age and even older. I have hung out with friends at bars where obviously married men were

Why We Support the Eradication of Poverty

A boy with calloused feet and worn out slippers.A direct result of poverty.Picture: SHARE THE WORLD’S RESOURCES Poverty is an ever present reality for many Africans. This is usually as a result of war and conflicts, natural causes like drought, famine, excessive rainfall or epidemics. For many countries however, poverty is a direct result of failed or ineffective government policies. This has led to the death of millions of men, women and children and is usually the first card in a string of dominoes that results in Africa being an under-developed continent. Poverty may not be easily eradicated but it can be vastly reduced. This demands a concerted effort by the governments, private organizations, aid agencies and all African citizens. Poverty can be reduced by;        Placing the extremely poor on government facilitated social welfare;             Ensuring free education for poor people;             Providing basic health care facilities and personnel for inner cities;             Massive capital and infrastructural development to enable job creation and improved economies;            Facilitating food policies that generate income for nations and hence, her people;             Empowering whole communities on revenue generation through sustainable development;             Empowering women through gender equality, education, entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation and;             Citizens holding their governments accountable for each African life; We owe it to our continent to stand up against the poverty! This is because all indices of poverty (and its horrible effects) place Africa as the worst hit. We cannot continue to sit back while Africans – our brothers and sisters – die from the effects of poverty. We also cannot afford to continually be the butt of world’s joke, pity or derision. We must join the world in eradicating poverty; for ourselves, for our families, and for mama Africa! The theme for this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is, ‘MOVING FROM HUMILIATION AND EXCLUSION TO PARTICIPATION: ENDING POVERTY IN ALL ITS FORMS’. The theme is all encompassing. We need to participate; and that participation MUST be all-inclusive! We support the charge of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, which says “Poverty is not simply measured by inadequate income. It is manifested in restricted access to health, education and other essential services and, too often, by the denial or abuse of other fundamental human rights […] Let us listen to and heed the voices of people living in poverty. Let us commit to respect and defend the human rights of all people and end the humiliation and social exclusion that people living in poverty face every day by promoting their involvement in global efforts to end extreme poverty once and for all.” This fight is not just for the United Nations or for governments. This fight is for ALL OF US! Add your voice today! Fight for the eradication of poverty in Africa!


Carefree Girls: What we aspire for ever girl in the world.Image: Unsplash. Today, SHADES OF US joins the world in commemorating the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL! We believe EVERY GIRL deserves the following; 1.      Equal Access To Basic Human Rights; 2.      Equal Access To Education; 3.      Equal Access To Proper Health Care; 4.      Equal Pay For Same Quality Or Quantity Of Work/Job; 5.  Equal Right To Vote And Be Vote For And To Be In Leadership Positions Without Intimidation; 6.      Equal Access To Opportunities; 7.      Equal Access To Inheritance; 8.      Right To Choose Whom To Marry And if/when To Marry; 9.  Protection From Rape, Pedophilia, Domestic Violence Or Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Patriarchy And Misogyny; 10. Protection From Harmful Cultural And Religious Practices Like Female Genital Mutilation, Public Flogging For Perceived Wrongs Etc; 11. Equal Access to Digital Rights and Protection from Digital Gender Based Violence. With this in mind, we agree with this year’s theme for the International Day of the Girl Child as put out by the United Nations. If girls progress in all the spheres mentioned above, the sustainable development goals will progress and we will enjoy a better world. Add your voice today! What can YOU do to make girls progress? Credit: ESAU DILIS BLOG

Malformed and Rejected!

Picture: ROSA VERLOOP I sat in my room and remembered a young boy I once knew. I will call him Junior. Junior was the first son of his parents. They had been blessed with four girls before Junior was born. Being African, his father didn’t feel like a man until he had his son. I don’t know what it was like at his birth because I met Junior when he was about 4. Junior was malformed. His head seemed too heavy for his tiny body, resulting in a permanent slouch when he sat; which was all he could do. His arms and legs were tiny and never seemed to catch up with the rest of his body as he grew. His eyes were bulgy and he had a drool most of the time. That was all most people saw. As a result, he was always on a chair or propped with pillows. I saw a side to Junior that astounded me. He was veryintelligent! He could hold brilliant conversations, with only slight slurring of his words. He was like Stephen Hawking…without the futuristic wheelchair. He was also very respectful and courteous; a trait that gets me every time. One day I stumbled upon his report cards and found he was the best student in his class. I expressed my amazement and his mum, full of pride and joy, told me that he had always been the top student in his class; excelling way above other regular students. This was my confirmation that Junior had the mind of a genius trapped in a malformed body. Somehow, I didn’t feel bad for him. I believed that his mind was the most important thing about him and I was proud to know him. Soon enough, his mother was pregnant again. When she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Junior’s father was more than elated. He threw the biggest naming ceremony for his son and was merry for days. When it was his 1st birthday, oh my! You should have seen the fanfare! When Junior was about 8 and his brother 3, I was witness to something that shocked the socks off me. Junior’s dad returned from work that day and his second son ran to him with the enthusiasm that defined his childhood, screaming ‘Daddy Welcome!’ As soon he flew in the air for a hug, Junior’s father lifted him above his head and said, ‘Thank you my only son’. I balked! Only son?! Only son?! It was at that moment that I saw Junior crawling to welcome his father. He was within hearing distance of his father when those words were uttered. He froze where he was, child as he was, but understanding the full impact of those words. And like a child, he still said his welcomes…wishing….hoping….for that toss into the air and that acknowledgement. Junior’s father mumbled a response and went into his room. My heart broke…just as I am sure Junior’s did. He was malformed from birth, which was no fault of his. And that malformation led his father to reject him in the most hurtful of ways. For his father, his beautiful mind was not enough to overlook his mangled body. I left the house. That was the last day I saw Junior. The next time I heard of him, it was about his burial. He had been 13 when he died. I remember being sad and depressed at his painful life. I remembered his courtesy and his brilliance. I remembered how he always tried to help himself, in spite of his malformed body. I remembered his crooked smile that makes me think of the song by J.Cole. Best of all, I remembered his spirit. I heard his father cried at the funeral. I heard the tears wouldn’t stop. But I couldn’t help but wonder; did he cry in sorrow because he had lost a son or did he cry in joy because he now, truly, had one son?

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