A TRIBUTE TO A DEPARTED FATHER
Seldom do we value the good that other people bring to us until we are left to face the elements on our own. As humanity we fail to appreciate the good in other people, continually postponing our plans to pay them a visit, make a special call (not asking for help or lamenting our problems) to just say,
‘ I called to say I value you in my life , while I might not be able to express it materially may these words be an indication of how important you are to my life’
24 November 2005 was the dawning day for me on this matter. 24 hours before that , deep down in Chirundu, I had made a call to my father at his work place in Bulawayo, he was in good spirits, spoke about how independent and rebellious Thabo ( our last born) was and how he wished we could all have breakthroughs in some matters afflicting our family. He fought hard to stifle the asthmatic wheeze as it had been our constant source of misunderstandings. He always insisted I had a lot on my plate without worrying about him.
We bade each other farewell and I promised to call him again the next day but that was not to be. Approximately 22 hours from our last conversation he had an asthmatic seizure, collapsed, was revived, and helped to seat leaning against the wall while a neighbor tried to summon an ambulance. On turning to tell him to hold on an ambulance was on the way they discovered he was gone. My father was dead.
Gone without seeing my first born daughter who was to be born in March 2006.
Gone without him taking my second call that I had promised to make.
Gone without me telling him how I loved and appreciated him.
That episode taught me mortality, I never thought my father would die, to me he was this towering phoenix that could defy gravity until I walked into the morgue, saw his body and his semi permanent frowning furrows still etched on his brow. Only when I touched his brow did it dawn to me that he was gone, all that was left here was his iced body. Gone was the man who imparted the love of books to me, (I used to steal and read his James Hadley Chase novels in his absence as he believed I was not old enough to read them but I had gone through all of the by the time I was in form one and he was saying I could only read them after form four!) Gone was that tempestuous temper whose signs we always sought in his eyes and gave him a wide berth when he was in a raging mood.
But he had a soft heart, had a tough upbringing and wanted nothing but the best for us. He taught me that only a fool gave up on his dream, was tough on me (but now I look back and am grateful for the upbringing for it has helped me sail many a stormy sea). He knew the Adventist hymn song by heart and adored Don Williams. He was a good man.
For all the good that I have become, my father helped fashion it (the bad I accept the blame for and maybe if he had been around it would not have gotten to this extent).
For all the love, sacrifices, security attention and care, here is to a man who died before seeing his grandchildren, before seeing his only daughter (whom he adored to bits and called his sister) leave the country to face the Wild West on her own, before he saw his last born go to Secondary school and before knowing that the softie boy (Phakamani) would grow into a man to live to tackle the challenges of the Namib desert.
Here is to a father, a friend, a disciplinarian, a reader who keenly dissected matters before giving opinion.
Here is to our father. Dickson Luke Phindela Ncube.
And to those whose fathers live, no matter what the circumstances, a moment of appreciation would do the world for them.