Fathers make Husbands

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For the longest time he thought he had nightmares, but they were actually night terrors. Bad people wanting to kill him with long knives, tumbling down deep dark wells, evil stalking him, death in the hands of wickedness. He’d wake up in a panic, breathless, eyes wide and glassy like they just saw Lucifer peel potatoes. Sometimes he’d be told that he was trying to wedge open the grill of the bedroom window in his sleep, to escape or to let the evil in the room escape.

We first met three years ago in George, South Africa, where we had both gone for work. He’s a writer as well but one of those serious writers who write about governance and geopolitics. The type that read “real” books and not Kindle. A quick chat later, I learnt that he was born-again, but not the stuffy overbearing type who are always inviting you to their church to “invite the beauty of Christ into your life.” He had said, “This is a divine meeting, Biko, because I have been thinking and wondering how I could reach you and now here you are at my disposal for three days of free consultation.” Well, who said you can serve Christ in only one way? He was younger than me, brilliant and curious and driven, and he had fine taste in clothes – something we writers are not known for.

Once in a while we’d do lunch (his Jesus frowned on drinks) and he’d recommend books for me to read; heavy and dull reads about Africa. He loved politics. He could talk about the new imperialism for hours if I let him. He seemed to be very unhappy in his job and was standing at the familiar crossroads of whether to quit and go it alone or to dig his heels in and earn a paycheck every month. His greatest sadness seemed to throb from his job. And Jesus didn’t have solutions. Nobody did.

A week or so before Christmas he called me and said he had committed himself at Bustani, a wellness center in Braeside Gardens, Muthangari Road that caters to all types of psychiatric disorders. He said he had been diagnosed with ADHD and would be spending his Christmas there. Together with a friend I went to visit him the day before Christmas. I expected someone with shaggy hair and a blade of grass in his mouth but instead he was bright-eyed and bushy tailed. I said, “Boss, isn’t ADHD  a white middle-class thing?”

That day my friend told us how the counsellors there had opened him up like an old car engine, opened his past and poked in there with a stick and how he had cried for hours, reliving that past, and how surprised he was that his insomnia and night terrors all came from his childhood, 30 years back. He grew up dirt poor, in the village. They were seven children. His father – a cop – worked in Nairobi but came to the village often and when he was in the village he came bearing hell. He recalls his childhood as extremely violent, with his father kicking and punching his mother. “My mother would be screaming ‘Just kill me already, I’m ready to die, kill me!’ and we would be screaming and pleading with him not to kill our mother. So when we were not going to bed hungry our house was always war-torn, full of screams and beatings,” he says. “My father is not a good man. He is a cruel man. He constantly dehumanised my mother right before us. He would call her stupid because she didn’t finish KCSE. He never drunk a drop of alcohol but I remember how he would taunt my siblings, picking fights and calling them useless and foolish and then the beatings. I was his favorite because I was always top of my class, but I, too, lived in fear of him.”

One day his father brought home an educated second wife to help his mother raise them because she was not “smart or educated enough to raise children on her own.” His mother resisted having another woman come to help her raise her children and she would fight with the second wife. Because his mother is petite and with those wrists that you can snap like a twig, she frequently got a walloping. “My mother now walks with a limp – my father broke her hip bone.”

“I’m a product of chance,” he says. “ I somehow managed to get scholarships through primary and secondary and ended up in Daystar and got an education courtesy of my big brother who came to Nairobi and did menial jobs, started his own company and made his money.”

He wears great suits, this guy. Well-cut suits. He looks like he was born in a suit. I have seen him stand before a roomful of people giving talks about governance, beaming immense confidence and knowledge, prowling the room with that assurance of a mountain cat. But we all hide great flaws with great clothes, don’t we? Clothes not only hide who we really are, they dress our past and hide the great damage that lives there.

“I have learnt that you can never run away from your past,” he told me. “If it is not resolved it will come back. Our politics is full of men who want to plunder and pilfer because of how they were socialised. Greed has a root. I learnt through my therapy session here that my night terrors were as a result of the violence I saw in my childhood. The chicken were coming home to roost. I learnt that watching my own mother dehumanised, beaten daily, turned me into a very sympathetic man. I’m sympathetic of women and as a result I have gravitated towards and attracted broken women who I can save because I couldn’t save my own mother from the tyranny of my father. My ex-girlfriend had a mood disorder. Before that was a woman who would cut herself. I have dated girls with great unresolved issues with their own fathers. I attract these women. Imagine someone marrying someone like me if I hadn’t come here to seek help? Can you imagine what they would be taking on unknowingly? Can you imagine the kind of children I would involve in this narrative? Abuse is a culture that keeps giving. Even at my job, I endured the corporate abuse and I couldn’t leave. Biko, do you know the story of the pharisee and the blind man?”

I nodded.

“When Jesus gave sight to a man who was born blind and the pharisee – convinced Jesus was a sinner – refused to believe it and asked the man to discount him [Jesus], he said, ‘Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know is that I was blind but now I can see.’ Look, I have heard many things about Dr. Frank Njenga. I don’t care if they are true or false, what I know is that I have been living in a maze and he has led me out. I was a runaway train without brakes but he stopped me, otherwise I was going to derail and hurt a lot of people.”

The first thing he did when he got out was to go to shags to fetch his big brother who had lost everything in Nairobi; his business and family, and was now drinking his life away in shags, a shell of a man. He brought him and checked him in at the center. “I’m trying to undo what my father did. We can’t be sound men or sound husbands when we carry the scars of our father.  I’m opening the wounds of the family because sometimes this is what healing is about, opening bad wounds to heal and I think my brother’s wounds haunt him.”

Of course I asked if I could speak to his brother. He set it up after a few days and I went back to Bustani.

We sit in the garden, overlooking a volleyball pitch below, on the same bench I had earlier seen a boy with a hood over his head, looking out to the neighbouring grassy patch land of unused land, deep in thought. A therapist sits with a patient under a tree nearby. The patient has a box of tissues, which she reaches for, amidst tears. A mother who  – from the looks of the red mud on her shoes – must have travelled from far to visit her child or sibling, naps on a leso spread on the grass, shoes kicked off. A young man hangs clothes on a line. (Washing your own clothes is part of the regime here,” my pal had told me). An Asian man walks around the perimeter, as if counting his steps. Birds chirp on the trees above us.

My friend’s brother is thin. He’s 40-years old with premature balding, the type that most alcoholics sport. He sits slumped next to me on the bench, like someone who has no plans of ever getting up, fiddling with his kabambe phone that stopped ringing ages ago. People stop calling you when you are an alcoholic. Unless for drinks. If you are buying.

“This man is not my father” he tells me quietly. “Not my real father, at least. My mom came with me from a different relationship. He has never accepted me. I don’t think he has, and it’s not from not trying to be a good son to him…well…” he sighs. “Here we are. I don’t regret it.” He shrugs.

“I never went to school because he refused to pay my school fees. When I came to Nairobi to live with him, I was 13-years or so. He had quit the police force and was working in a private security firm. I started doing manual work, hauling sand from trucks, working in construction sites, the works. I was very good with tiling. Eventually I was hired at Tile And Carpet where I worked for eight years. All the good things that happened in my life happened while I was at Tile And Carpet. Suddenly I was making my own money, I was responsible, I was doing things that my father couldn’t do- like paying school fees for my siblings. I took all my siblings through school on my own. I then quit and started my own tiling business. We had a big godown in industrial area. I was making a lot of money.”  

Things started going awry in his business five years ago when one of his partners took off with 14 million of their money and disappeared to China to start a new life with his family. (I thought to myself, what kind of a person disappears to China to start a life?) Then his marriage started floundering. He then decided to take a break to shags, where he started drinking heavily and didn’t stop.

“Are you and your father, stepfather, alike in any way?” I ask him.

“What do you mean?” he turns to look at me.

“Do you sometimes see some of him in yourself?”

“No. Never. He doesn’t drink. I drink. I’m not violent. He was. No. We are not the same.”

“How do you think he influenced your adult life?” I ask.

He looks down at his phone and absent-mindedly scrolls through his phone as if the answer is in an SMS therein.  

“I think my marriages have all failed because of him,” he says. “I blame him for that.”

“Why?”

“Because he could never approve of any woman I married,” he says. “They were just not good enough for him. They always had a fault…or something.”

He was married to his first wife for two years before they separated. He separated from her because he felt that she was not welcomed by his father. So he met another lady. She was “hardworking and focused” and they fell in love so madly and so deeply that Savage Garden sung about it in his song “deeply madly.” You might have heard that song. The only problem that his father had with this lady was that she was older than him. He taunted him about it; that he was married to a woman “as old as your mother.” But he didn’t care. They had children. Later, his father felt that since he was responsible for all his siblings the lady was not going to understand having his siblings live with them. They began to drift apart and eventually broke up. “He told me that perhaps I was better off getting a woman from our tribe, someone who understood what it meant for the first son to take responsibility for the whole family.” So he found a woman from his tribe. Another hardworking and focused woman. This time Savage Garden was done with that story, so he didn’t sing. They had more children.

“At some point my wife felt like perhaps we should move to Germany where her siblings were and start a new life there. I think she was trying to run away from the influence of my father and mother in our marriage,” he says. “But how could I leave my siblings on their own here in Kenya? So I said no.” They fought a lot and he opted to move to shags since business was bad in Nairobi anyway. From 2015 to last year he was drinking a lot. “I only realised coming here that I was sick. I have a problem with alcohol. I was drinking because I was sad but the funny thing was a drink would stop the sadness but when I sobered up I would realise that I was slightly sadder than I was before the last drink and so the trick was to not be sober because when you sober up you plunge further into sadness.”

“Do you think your drinking and your past are connected?”

“Yes,” he says. “Before I didn’t, but now I see how they are connected. My marriages failed because of me. Before I used to make excuses about why things are the way they are, but I see that the problem was me.”

“How did you fail your marriage, your wives?”

He thinks about it. The sun is in his face – what people call, ‘my good side.”

“I wasn’t strong enough.” Pause. “I wasn’t strong enough to choose my wives and stand by them. To say ‘This is my decision and I stand by it. I stand by her.’ I have not been firm in my life. I have let my father dictate who I be. I also never provided for my family as a husband should. My wife lost respect for me, I think, because of my irresponsibility and my drinking. It wasn’t her fault. Before coming here I thought it was her fault, that she was just finding ways to frustrate me.”

“Are you ever going to confront your dad with a conversation about the past and the present?”

“No,” he says. “I know him better than all my siblings do. I know how he thinks and how he reacts. It won’t matter. We have never gotten along. So why should I bother now?”

“For yourself, maybe?”

“No,” he says firmly.

“What about your real father? Do you ever wonder about him? Have you ever tried looking for him?”

He sighs like I just asked another foolish question. He says evenly “What will finding him achieve? Why should I look for him when he has never tried looking for me? I try to look for and talk to my children that I don’t live with.  I’m not interested in him.”

The therapist, he says, told him that he is also depressed and his depression and alcoholism are also because of his lack of an income and goes as far back as his relationship with his step-father. They will be transferring him to a rehab center to clean up.

“What is the first thing you will do when you are finally done with rehab?”

He says, “I will try and put my family back together. I will have a talk with my current wife and see if she can allow me to work things out with her.”

I left him sitting at the bench with that thousand yard stare. That look that goes over buildings and trees and goes and goes and goes until it stops being a stare and becomes something that just doesn’t hold an emotion.

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135 Comments
      1. I hope there is a way to hide ourselves without these first comment people noticing and hope they will never find is again.

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  1. But we all hide great flaws with great clothes, don’t we? Clothes not only hide who we really are, they dress our past and hide the great damage that lives there. This right here spoke to me on a personal level.

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  2. It’s amazing how fathers shape us. I think the majority of our problems can be traced back to a father figure (or a lack thereof). Some of us may develop night terrors, others alcoholism and others will mask their own pain with comedy and sarcastic comments.
    We all need to be loved and to feel approved of by our fathers. Anyone who disputes this is a liar.

    Thanks for this, Biko.
    Salimia Tamms na Kim.

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  3. I always look forward to Biko Tuesday. I hope they both heal. I hope he can bring his family together. There’s a ray of sunshine, may it shine on them.

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  4. Past has a way of coming back to haunt you, no matter how much you tack it back, if you don’t resolve it, it will tickle you till you pay attention and solve it once and for all.

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  5. We always hide pain, tears and struggles behind smiles and pretending to be strong. life is shitty. cry at night, become a professional silent screamer, no voice, just silent screams….i have had many such nights.. but the next morning, put on my best clothes, powder my face and a touch of nice lipstick…life goes on so does the cycle.

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  6. I pray that they all get sorted, fixed and redeemed because if they are not it’ll be a vicious cycle and generational issues of sorts of abuse, broken marriages, broken families and perpetual pain.

    The father incidentally needs healing and deliverance as well not that he would take the opportunity but I pray that he heals and makes amends before he departs.

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  7. Waa! when the past that has been trailing you boldly announces its presence. But don’t we (I) just fear confronting our (My) past!

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  8. This is such a sad story.It got me thinking of all the women who stay in abusive marriage for the sake of their children.Eventually they add up doing more harm to their children than good.The poor lady is now limping as a result of the beating.May the two brothers find their new paths and deal with their past.

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    1. …..and the limp is only the physical manifestation of the abuse. You can only imagine how emotionally broken she is. Their mother needs counselling too. Staying on an abusive marriage just isn’t worth it.

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  9. “What will finding him achieve? Why should I look for him when he has never tried looking for me? Real reasoning from a very hurtful person who has never known his biological father …..Thank you, many people will relate.

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  10. ” It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. ”

    May every man and woman going through things they cannot talk about find healing. It shall be well.

    Wehhh. This is a very sad story.

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    1. If you’re referring to any or the two brothers, this comment is uncalled for. Failures and scapegoats on the same line, to someone seeking help? Is MEAN!

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  11. I am weeping as I read this because I am going through the same. I hope I survive this. Not easy. If I don’t, I hope I shall be forgiven for my trespasses.

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  12. Is a husband made by society or is he an extension of his father? Is it absurd to think that one is different from the other?

    A more intriguing question is why men will often choose ego over responsibility at the slightest thought that the responsibility may negatively affect their perception of their manhood.

    I feel for the two gentlemen. Fighting a father’s demons from across the fence.

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  13. i remember when we were young there was a beautiful bakora by a corner in our parents bedroom.whenever we wanted to play with it our mom would lovingly caution us”wacheni hiyo iko na kazi yake”pa has gone to make peace with his maker.ma is still with us.the bakora a distant nostalgia.my siblings and i dont need to revisit our past to arouse any ghosts for none were there!would you call a gentle caress with a bakora a beating?c’mmon biko u know better!!

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  14. Fathers and father figures do indeed have a huge impact on what and who we become in life. Nice piece Biko
    Guys you could check out my post on fatherhood ..here is the
    linkhttps://snippetsoflife.home.blog/

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  15. We all hide great flaws with great clothes, don’t we? Clothes not only hide who we really are, they dress our past and hide the great damage that lives there…. #DeepTruths

    I wish him well in his journey of recovery and reuniting with his family.

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  16. Both a sad story and an eye opener… I think we underrate being brought up in a quiet family, May They Find Peace Biko. Nice Story

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  17. I have lived all my life hated by my birth mother. My mother has her demons, and I live in fear of becoming my mother to my daughter.

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    1. I try not to shout. I get scared when I remember that’s all I have known. Then let’s not speak of my two fathers . Argh! This life.

  18. “Corporate job being the biggest cause of his sadness”…I feel that personally. Quitting has become my number one fantasy, Idris Elba kando. But alas we have to adult. As for the fatherhood/alcoholism/abuse thing…whelp, no words. Too complex, too sad, too lasting, just too much.

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  19. All the best to this man, and big up to the younger bro for looking back and realising his big bro deserves a second chance.

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  20. To all fathers and upcoming fathers,,,may you know the impact you will create on your children. To all mothers and upcoming mothers, may we learn from these stories.

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  21. This story resonates. Abuse from parents leaves lasting effects that take a village to undo. Alcoholism alienates us from ours. let’s try and reach out to those who are affected They can’t reach out to us but we can. Just looking around me, I see those effects and Mo child deserves that. Sad

  22. It’s sad they had to bear such a ruthless father at their tender ages. All is not lost, however. They can still rebuild their lives to great successes. Our current society has a problem with the father figure. Either he is absent or when present, he doesn’t come out as the best role model to his kids. I also know of the good fathers too who will be responsible for their kids ‘ well being by all means

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  23. This is just to show that fathers influence their sons to be better husbands. And did you say that the devil peels potatoes? Im concerned

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  24. Fathers are the bulwark against every rip our inbred perception of what it takes to be the right kind of man, and I feel for the two siblings whose father failed to provide even the flimsiest sense of what a man is meant to be. I give my honest support to the brothers and pray that their psychological sojourn makes each of them every bit the man their father never had the courage to be.

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  25. Biko, so what happens to those men who can’t afford Bustani and the like? C’mon think and reach out. We’re losing your whole lot ……extinction is real here.

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  26. Sometimes fathers are a curse to their families. I’m imagining living in such an abusive home. Your son is a future husband to someone. Bring him up right. We can end this. People struggle with demons we know not and they haunt them in silence. We can help them heal by being their peace and encourage them to open up. Maybe the father also grew up in an abusive home and he was letting out the anger on them. To the brothers, a better day is coming.

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  27. Most men treat their families the way their fathers did or trying to do what most fathers didn’t..
    An great read

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  28. One request Biko,once the men and marriage series is done,i hope whatever you write about won’t be as heavy and touchy as this.i don’t know ,this has got me missing the safaricom piece because it’s dark in here.

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  29. The past has surely nothing new to offer apart from terror and nightmares. I wish rehab be the turning point for the guy.

  30. If we don’t heal from what hurt us we will always bleed on people who didn’t cut us. May we find the courage to admit our struggles, the strength to accept our healing and the confidence to walk in our freedom.

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  31. Its sad, we men seem to hide all the dark past years, saying we are past them. We keep blaming those we love at the moment for our failures, not knowing that its all attributed to the pain of the past years. Hope this helps someone
    Thanks Biko

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  32. Just read this book Educated by Tara Westover, it’s a memoir that’s stays with you, mind boggling and beautifully written. Her father was like this guy’s dad , a completely twisted fellow. Best memoir I have read in a long time .

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  33. Thank you for writing this piece Biko. Quite the eye opener, revealing some deep truths. He has told his hurt to the world, to help others in similar situations and who are feeling overwhelmed and caught up. That is the sole essence of this mystery we call L.I.F.E. Totally loved it.

  34. This just makes me think of how many times i’ve said im/it’s fine to avoid confronting issues.

    I really hope th y get help so tbey can breakbthe cycle and impact their children positively.

    Wonderfull piece.

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  35. Family is supposed to be our safe haven, but very often is a place where we find our deepest heartache……. Proud of the two on there road to recovery

  36. This has got me thinking about my two brothers who have witnessed the same from our father, i pray and hope daily that the cycle ends with us and that they will find a way to deal with the demons from our past.

    My heart goes out to the two brother, May you find healing and be better men, husbands and fathers.

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  37. Deep cuts Biko.. Am here for the Men and Marriage series
    This story is very vital to all the men in our society today… My solution to him is that people shud take responsibility for everything in their life, and stop blaming others. Nothing comes easy in life but with hard work and love in our heart we can always overcome.
    I hope he gets his family together.. Including wife 1 and wife 2 kids… Kids always need their Father to be there and help them out in any way. Out with the old, in with the new version of himself. I will pray for him

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  38. At least they were able to find what was amiss. Many of us go through life struggling with issues we never know existed. I wish the two brothers well and the whole family.

  39. If its not working, its not working, the things people put up with “for the children’s’ sake ” do mess them up..then you name them “generational curses!”…. I hope the new him gets the right partner. Then again, he manned up to seek help, something no ordinary man does.. if only they did.

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  40. Hurt people tend to hurt other people. By seeking help, hope he breaks through the curse of the father that seems to hold him back.

    When you can talk about it, you are slowly starting to heal.

  41. Profound! I am in tears and shock at how timely this story is. Just a few weeks I ago I visited Bustani with my cousin who is also mentally ill. She is in denial so we were not admitted. I am lost, confused and sad because I do not know how to help her. Mental illness like you said was believed to be a white man disease, I didn’t think that because I thought I was educated enough to know that mental illness was real. However, I had never experienced it except for the occasional mad man I saw in the city.

    The idea of mental illness took a complete turn when I started living with my cousin. It has been a journey that has tested me in ways I never imagined. She is a spitting image of me even though she is 20 years older. Every evening when I get home I find her on the couch sometimes speaking to herself cursing out demons that are apparently speaking to her. I interject and try to have a normal conversation but in between she throws a fit and tells off this imaginary demon to get away from her. She doesn’t wink all night and she refuses to sleep on a bed. So she spends most of her day on the couch. She has lost all sense of personal hygiene and the last time I spoke to her about it well lets just say I am glad we are both safe.

    Did I mention that she is a trade lawyer by profession holds two degrees and three masters…… My role model and mentor the woman I knew I was going to become when I grow up and since we looked so much alike I was sure I would fit right into her shoes. I am lost, sometimes I feel like I am going crazy too, what can I do. Her family is away and her younger sister is also an alcoholic who needs serious counselling and help as she has experienced trauma that I cannot even share.

    I Just wish I knew what to do and how to do it because it kills me to see her waste away. I have read everything I could lay my hands on to try understand schizophrenia that’s what Dr. Njenga said she has. No cure and no reasons why it comes about. I have tried to make sense of it all and I realize now it a waste of time. Perhaps she also has a lot of unresolved issues in her past or it could be witchcraft or a curse something she keeps telling me about all the time. Whatever it maybe it is real and its a very disheartening disease. All I can hope for is that she will agree to get medical help. I will share this story with her and maybe it will spark thoughts in her because I have tried to speak to her in vain, she refuses to listen or reason with me because am younger than her .

    Thank you for sharing this story it has touched my core and encouraged me more to keep on fighting for her recovery. I am glad that your writer friend got help!

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    1. Just thinking of their dad….. are brutal men created by God or are made by humans???

      I hope I got a good father is or has been raising me a good husband, and pray that he (my future husband) will reciprocate and do better as a dad too.

      Congrats for seeking help to these two. God glad you the strength you need to overcome it all and win.
      Amen.

  42. Whenever we hear of someone acting wild, we need to learn to ask what the situation at home was. I think it was in the book “Dad is Destiny” by Simon Mbevi, who has been “blessed with a burden” for men, that it was pointed out that the solution to a lot of America’s social problems is – a [stable!] two-parent home.

    For this reason, it’s suddenly dawned on me that although he might look like the villain in this story, just like the line in the article says, “Abuse is a culture that keeps giving,” and so I’d like to hear what the boys’ father’s story is. Maybe he had / has worse demons to deal with. And if he’s alive, I hope he can be checked in too.

  43. Hope they heal, eventually. Meanwhile no matter what drama ensues between parents may they always remember not to keep children off everything

  44. I have dated girls with great unresolved issues with their own fathers.

    I would add and their mothers too….but this is about men. Lots of women here were tormented by their mothers and called names simply because the fathers did not come home on time every evening and the mother knew they were out there with other women. The closest person to insult and beat was the daughters.

    Depression is a tough beast but I hope the 2 brothers can find the mental strength to let go the demons of their father and to embrace their own being and enjoy their time here on earth. You are loosing time with your own sons and if they don’t get you back fast, the cycle will continue …..Most men can sire babies but it takes more to become a Real caring Father……

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    1. Your narrative is spot on. I have always said if a man mistreats his wife, whether he beats her or goes around hoeing or even leaves her. It will have an impact on the children. You can buy them all the gifts in the world, take them to expensive schools, it will not repair the damage. What will eventually happen is they will repeat the cycle.

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  45. Yes, we dress up our pain and apply make up to camouflage.. Thank you for this piece, Let me summon a family meeting NOW……..

  46. Your life is your responsibility. Identify the areas that are dysfunctional, make a list of the needed changes, and make a plan! God’s speed.

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  47. Just thinking of their dad….. are brutal men created by God or are made by humans???

    I hope I got a good father is or has been raising me a good husband, and pray that he (my future husband) will reciprocate and do better as a dad too.

    Congrats for seeking help to these two. God glad you the strength you need to overcome it all and win.
    Amen.

  48. This narrative raises a very important phenomenon: mental health and wellness. It is equally important as physical and spiritual. It has far reaching effects on other areas of our wellbeing and I am glad it’s being pointed out. Thank you to the brothers for sharing their stories that will bless many lives that read. Kudos, Biko!

  49. But we all hide great flaws with great clothes, don’t we? Clothes not only hide who we really are, they dress our past and hide the great damage that lives there.

    The sun will rise again!

  50. But we all hide great flaws with great clothes, don’t we? Clothes not only hide who we really are, they dress our past and hide the great damage that lives there.

  51. But we all hide great flaws with great clothes, don’t we? Clothes not only hide who we really are, they dress our past and hide the great damage that lives there.

    The sun will rise again!

  52. Men are a reflection of their fathers. Good fathers raise good men and history repeats itself all the time. Look at dysfunctional homes, years later the same outcome from the next generation.

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  53. It is better to grow up without a father than to grow up around an abusive father. The damage is much worse. Growing up, I don’t remember envying my friends whose fathers were around because they never seemed to enjoy being around them. Fathers of that generation were military commanders who inspired fear instead of love. And they enjoyed being feared, confusing fear with respect.I want to applaud men of my generation because many of them are cultivating healthy relationships with their children.

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  54. If you’re damaged don’t get married and for God’s sake don’t make children. Get healing so that you can break the cycle.

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  55. My father stayed away for a few years, he was finding himself after years of being unfaithful to our mother. When he came back, we had all detached from him. The women he was chasing were not worth the grain of salt. Some men are shortsighted, they put their families on the back burner for sexual conquests. Shame.

    6
  56. Y’all talking about abuse in marriage, it comes in various forms. Let’s not treat cheating as a none issue when addressing dysfunctional husbands. Did you know that’s how most people get infected with HIV/AIDS? Don’t take it lightly. You can be faithful but your partner is out there bringing diseases into your relationship.

    8
  57. That look that goes over buildings and trees and goes and goes and goes until it stops being a stare and becomes something that just doesn’t hold an emotion.

  58. This is familiar, it’s a pattern in abusive relationships with just few shades in other similar stories. It rings a bell for time to seek help. It confirms that people live with abuse & as if in a trance just manage life around it.
    But it’s amazing how we are created with a body that has ability to heal.
    Biko! How quickly can the mind heal?
    That’s a great piece.
    Sad it’s real life!
    Keep writing Biko!

    1
  59. This is so me. This article has just opened my eyes. It’s about time I also confronted my old self and made peace with it.

    1
  60. My Opinion of men and marriage:
    Don’t confuse a physical connection for an emotional one. sometimes we force ourselves to like someone so we don’t feel alone. we settle for those that don’t meet our wants & needs. best things in life are worth waiting for. The reason why marriages don’t last is we marry for the wrong reason to the wrong person. I do hope I don’t end up as a statistic when I grow up and marry.

    5
  61. Clothes not only hide who we really are, they dress our past and hide the great damage that lives there. Too much truth in this statement. I hope he gets back to his family. These two brothers got resilience on another level. May God bless you both in everything that you do.

    1
  62. I believe a father-son relationship is one of the most complex in a man’s life – and that it’s a relationship that can affect all others. Unmet expectations on both sides can leave fathers withdrawn and sons exasperated. But even when there’s no open warfare, many men long for a deeper friendship with the men who raised them. Building that kind of rapport can be hard work, but the rewards are commensurate with the effort. When we’re not reconciled with our fathers, there’s something inside of us that remains restless, and there’s also something that remains kidlike. We don’t really grow up until we have come to terms with our fathers. We need our fathers to bless us in a way that brings us into adulthood. For most men, I’d like to believe, earning their fathers’ acceptance has a profound effect on their relationships and their self-image. There’s something about the words ‘I’m proud of you’ coming from a father that cannot be duplicated and clears away any wreckage in the (failed) relationship.

    2
  63. “But we all hide great flaws with great clothes, don’t we? Clothes not only hide who we really are, they dress our past and hide the great damage that lives there.”
    This has hit home.

  64. This piece was on point, refreshing as well as soul searching. Indeed, let fathers stand up and be counted – you are who you are because of how you were raised. But again, that should not define you. The beauty about life is that it gives you second chances – to work on what you once lost, what you never had as a young one and then, just maybe, find yourself again. The two men in this piece can do this, and excel beyond measure.

    1
  65. You empathize with men without necessarily sympathizing with them, or excusing them, making their pain and burdens tangible, visible even. Brilliant writing. When you quit your day job, try being a therapist. You could pull it off, Biko…

    1
  66. My words exactly, how will finding or knowing my father help me at 38 years of age? I feel that there are many who turn out better by not knowing and interacting with their fathers.

    1
  67. I wish parents would know the influence they have on their kids.We frown upon europeans ‘wazungu’ when they are extra careful with their kids tunaita kubembeleza mtoto but in real sense they are the ones who truly understand the importance.