I never saw much of him growing up, he was there, but I never got to know him. I never once had a conversation with him when I was a child. He was there in the house, but he did not know me, and I did not know him. He was always that stranger.
I was told his heart was dark like that of the devil. As a child, these words about my father haunted me.
When I was a little girl, he went to South Africa and bought me a beautiful doll. Oh that doll made me so happy.
But every day in the house he was always the topic of discussion, nothing ever good, it was always about how evil he was.
During most of my childhood, I despised him.
I saw nothing but the bad in him and I resented being his daughter.
He grew up an orphan, ill-treated and cruelly abused by those meant to protect him. He never knew what it was to be loved, his childhood stories can make you cry, but somehow he found a way to love.
When I was born he wanted a boy child.
But when I held a pencil and started to draw he realised I was his only child who had inherited his gift. And he could not help but see himself in me.
Yes, I am so much like my Daddy, not only do I draw like him, I look like him too. I also think like him. My Daddy hates oppression in all its forms, and he always tries to fight it. As a child, I was ridiculed that I was ugly like him. But my Daddy is not ugly. Today they ridicule me saying, ‘anopenga sa Daddy vake’, (she’s mad like her Daddy), but he is not mad.
I remind him of his mother, who died when he was a little boy. It was his mother who was the artist. I believe it was her who had the power of the pen. If she was here today, my grandmother would understand me.
When I went back to Zimbabwe and was ill-treated, as I sat there crying, my Dad took a glass of water and gave it to me saying, ‘Think of Jesus Jean, this is how they treated him.’
My Daddy played with my children and showed them nothing but love. It was only ‘sekuru’ (grandad) they bonded with.
When Febbie called the ambulance on me and my Dad heard, he called me and said, ‘No daughter of mine will ever be treated like this.’
He reads my articles, and he sends me screenshots. I always feel embarrassed but he will be like, ‘That’s my girl!”
He follows me on YouTube, and he says his favourite video is the one I was educating Zimbabwean men that there is nothing wrong with dark skin, ‘Thank you, my daughter, for educating us, you have said the truth,’ he wrote to me.
When I launched JAW charity in 2015, he supported me recording a video from Zimbabwe dressed smartly in a suit, just to bless me.
He says I am intelligent, and tells me that all my dreams will come true.
He blessed me and my Boaz, all he wants is for me to be happy.
Over the past two years, he has told me over 7 times that he has put his Fathers blessing on me.
He may not be the perfect father, he has made so many mistakes, but he has a contrite heart, always quick to say he’s sorry. Always trying to make things right. Always making up for his past mistakes.
A few days ago he said, ‘Jean I am all you have in this family.’
When they were all calling him saying she’s writing things on her blog, he said to them ‘let her write.’
He is all I have ever had, even when I never saw it. When I was 17, I received an invite letter from the UK to come and study nursing and I had a few days to buy the ticket. My Daddy hustled in less than 48 hours, got me a passport and came up with the ticket money.
I would not be where I am today, was it not for my Daddy.
He gets bullied and abused for supporting me when no one else does. But my Daddy doesn’t back down, he will still stand by me. He is also a victim of the abusive Zimbabwean culture, where women at times bully men who will try to stand up for their abused daughters.
My Daddy and I don’t always agree on everything, but he understands me and he loves me just the way I am. He loves me as Just Jean. Without realising it, my Daddy has been my greatest inspiration.
I am my Fathers daughter, the one who has his blessing, for that I am eternally grateful.
Daddy if anyone ever forwards you this article, smile, because I love you.