My Father, The War Vet Feminist.

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Day 10 of the challenge and I thought I should share something with you guys.

So, I understand that most people (men and women included) do not like the word feminist because it has been redefined too many times, people have come to associate it with hating men. For a while, I was confused too because I was not sure if I stood for all it supposedly stood for e.g hating men, controlling men or not needing me. First of all, I personally need men in my life. I have an amazing brother, cousins, friends, my future husband and a father who has his shortcomings but very much needed.

I would not be the strong, independent, beautiful and charismatic woman I am today if it were not for my father. You see, my dad is a war vet. He fought in the 1980 liberation struggle and was shot in the face when he was in his early 20’s. He was trained in China and Mozambique and is a true patriarch and patriot. My father is so devoted to Zimbabwe that he swore never to leave it or travel to another country ever again (especially England, due to obvious reasons). I can imagine his trauma after the war and how people were treated when Zimbabwe was still Rhodesia.

Anyway, I am taking long, let me get to my point. I am sure you are wondering how such a hardcore man can or would be a feminist, well. My mom moved to England for work when I was 6 years (we reunited in 2014) and I lived with my father until I was 19. Bless that man, having to raise 2 daughters (one with an unbearable attitude- my sister) and a boy (one of the sweetest and kindest guys I know, I am not biased!). I have always prided myself to be his favourite child but that did not mean we did not have our days. He always emphasised the importance of education and having your own properties and income. I would lie if I said my father ever mentioned marriage, well, except for the time I cooked chicken with sugar. That is when we realised I needed glasses as soon as possible.

(Yours truly, my father and my brother.)

I do not remember my father ever complaining of “taking care” of us because, first of all, we are his children, who was suppose to take care of us? Many relatives tried to convince him to get a wife who would help raise us, but he stood his ground and managed our attitudes and boyfriend shenanigans. As I grew up, I practised standing up for myself through him. We would stare each other down and at times I would stand down because of fear but I gained momentum over the years. When I was not happy or disagreed with him, I would tell him and most times he communicate with me as an adult. Now, I would not always address it nicely but he would listen. I do not remember my father ever dismissing me because I was a woman. He did dismiss me as a child (a typical African parent), but not as a woman. He never treated me differently from my brother, he was younger but he was taught to cook and clean after himself because those are basic skills. How we stared each other down.

The way my father taught me to be independent was not the typical sit down where he narrated the fundamentals of self-reliance, no. One night, there was load shedding in our area, my brother and I decided to sit in his truck. We were just sitting, talking when he came back from the bottle store and he was drunk. He got out of his car and walked towards the truck. My brother and I greeted him but he did not respond and started lecturing us.

” You know, none of this is yours. These cars, this house, all this, none is yours.”, he said staggering by the driver’s door where I was sitting. My brother and I looked at each other and nodded. We were confused because we were not prepared but he continued.

(My little brother and I)

” You are not going to inherit any of this. This is mine and your mother’s. You have nothing here so do not count on it.” I am not going to lie, 15 years old me cried. Firstly, where was this coming from and also, we thought we were your children, so we are not even getting even a cushion? I thought this man did not love us and was not my real father. I later realised that in his own way, he was teaching us to be independent to have our own and not rely on any man/woman for survival.

To most, it might seem as if it is nothing but in Africa, not most men would never do what he did. Having to buy pads for us (he once bought me pampers but that’s a story for another day) and dealing with boyfriends (once hid mine in the wardrobe, but that’s another story for another day.) he never left us. He was not a perfect father, but he did what he could with what he had. It took me a while to realise and appreciate, but I do now and I am grateful. My father was a feminist without even realising.

Until later!

2 thoughts on “My Father, The War Vet Feminist.”

  1. In wait for the boy in the wardrobe and maybe Pampers one. It’s lockdown days don’t make the day like our precious Lord’s return

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