Dear Sir, I am so nervous writing this, because I have no idea if it’s appropriate or not. But I am learning to be more like my Papa, he was a walking open book, and did whatever his heart set him to do. My heart has been meaning to write this since my Papa departed from this earth on Monday. All I know is that my Father Never Gasho, the Chief, would understand my motive for writing this open letter to you Sir. My Daddy would understand every word, and the meanings behind that what I can not express. My Daddy understood my pen was my therapy and medicine.
My mother always said my Daddy had no shame at all, she said he went around telling “everyone” his problems, he had no secret. Sir Thomas, I never knew why I write everything down, all my problems and everything, I am such an open book, it’s so sad, but today I now understand that it is not my fault, I inherited that trait from my Father. Today I have forgiven myself for being so open, too open on paper, some say. Daddy was a people’s person, and that openness made people love and adore him.
For me, I am a loner, I walk alone, I am so fragile and shy in real life, like a little butterfly, but I am an open book through my pen, and I roar, like a Lioness. My Daddy was an open book in person, but his baby girl is an open book literally on paper.
Sir Thomas, about 3 months ago, I went on a quest writing about your daughter Meghan Markle, I felt so compelled I could not help myself. One of the main reasons I started writing about Meghan was because her Oprah interview made me so angry. I saw a very privileged woman, so ungrateful for all the good things you had given her, the sacrifices you made for her. Sir Thomas, as I began to write about your daughter, I felt so compelled to appreciate my father. So in almost each essay I wrote about her, I would mention my father, how I appreciated him.
Sir, I had no idea, that as I wrote so much about my Daddy, comparing how Meghan had disowned you, I had no idea that these were my Father’s last weeks on this earth.
I remember my husband saying to me, “Wow, what has brought this on, you really are going way out to honour your Dad. Baby you are using Meghan to just praise and glorify your Father,” my husband would laugh at me.
And I would say, “I don’t know why, but I feel so compelled to be so grateful to Daddy, because I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t done all those things for me. A Father’s blessing is so important, and Meghan’s life is so messed up today because of how she has disowned her Father. I’m sorry but Thomas Markle is a good man, I see nothing wrong with him.” I would tell my husband.
But what is the point, Sir, if I do not write to you, and tell you the impact you made in my relationship with my father during his last days. What is the point Sir, if you do not hear these words from me?
One day I was writing a blog about Meghan, this was about 2 weeks ago sir. Then I started writing about my father, comparing myself to Meghan, how ungrateful she was to you. Then I felt this overwhelming sense of love for my Papa, so much I stopped writing the blog, and I started crying. I wept so much, because I missed my Father. He lived in Zimbabwe, and I live in England. I had not seen him in 10 years.
So I said to myself, “What is the point of praising my Father on my blog, what if he won’t get a chance to read this. Let me just tell him exactly how I feel.”
So I put the laptop aside, and looked for my phone. It was late at night, then I sent a whatsapp message, “Hi Dad, I just wanted you to know that I am so happy that I am your daughter.”
That’s all I said to him, I had no idea that that was my last message to him, that within two weeks he would be gone.
He replied me the next day, and said, “Ah Jean, you have brought me to tears.” And all I did was put a heart emojie.
What has broken me the most is after I sent my father that message, my little boy Chaka, took my phone, climbed on a stool, and blew it up in a microwave. So I lost all my messages to my father. I am so broken today, because I have no screenshot of that last message I sent him, my husband is trying to retrieve the messages for me, but I have no hope that it will be possible, the phone was burnt.
Oh Sir Thomas, I am so so grieved, I am so lost without him. He left without saying goodbye. Forgive me for pouring my heart to you. Its just that you were so much like him. But he was a real Chief, a King of the people. The whole town is weeping, he has left a void that people can not fill. He was a pillar of the community.
He was always with the orphans, singing to them. He took mad people, and bathed them and fed them. He fought for the rights of even vegetable vendors. if there was any corruption even in the council, he would be the first to go to the media to report it. When people had problems, they would say “lets go to Chief, he will know a solution.” He was always giving advice to people. He understood the misunderstood.”
I want to thank you Sir, white you maybe, but I know how misunderstood you are, especially by black people. I understand what it means to lose someone you dearly love. I am sorry you lost your daughter Meghan, and she can’t see the good in you today. But I want you to know Sir, that your story was never in vain. If what happened between you and Meghan had not happened, I would have never sent that last message to him, appreciating him and telling him I was so lucky to have been his daughter.
I was told by his friends that he treasured that message so much, in his last days, he showed it to his friends, even his son, saying “Look what Jean wrote to me.”
Sir Markle, I am crying so much as I pen this. Its tears of pain, and tears of thankfulness.
As a daughter who has lost her father, I want you to know that I may not be your daughter, blue black with nappy hair I am be, but I see a PERFECT FATHER in you. Like my Daddy, you are a very very sweet Father. Please don’t let Meghan or the world take that away from you.
I remember when you went to the press, and staged those photos before Meghan’s wedding. My Daddy was a little bit of a drama King as well Sir, so my husband and I would laugh and say, “Meghan’s Dad is so like Mr Gasho. This is something Daddy would do.” We saw the funny side in you, because I too have had a father who literally used to “stage” things to get his way. Then he would say he was sorry, just like you apologised to your daughter. You were like his brother from another mother.
Can I tell you a secret Sir, you staged paparazzi photos, please forgive yourself, and laugh about it, my Daddy once did worse. I know he won’t mind me saying this because afterwards we laughed so much about it.
My Daddy was so obsessed with “Family Unity”. He was so grieved that his family was broken, especially that his other children had no respect for him, he would always tell me to help mend the family, because he said I was the torch bearer of the family. But I would say no Daddy, I was the injured party here and it wasn’t my place to mend a family that had broken me. So Daddy, being such a drama King, and was determined to get his family to reunite, even through hook and crook, thought of a plan, and literally faked cancer. He told us that he had 6 weeks to live, and I was up all night weeping. That was 5 years ago.
Sadly, his plan didn’t even work, he realized that his other children were actually rejoicing that he was dying. So he then decided to come clean to me, because he felt so bad that I was so broken that my Papa was dying of cancer, and had only weeks to live when it was all fake. So he told me, a little embarrassed and not knowing how to say it, he was like, “Jean you know your Daddy, sometimes I say things, I am not dying ok, I am perfectly healthy, you know I tell you the truth. It was just one of things I said.”
I was like, “Really Dad. Really.”
I was angry with him that he could do that to me, but I was so happy, so relieved that he had faked the cancer, it made me appreciate him so much, and laughed so much about how crazy he was.
My husband and I used to have a good laugh about the fake cancer story, we saw the funny side of it all.
We couldn’t help but see the Chief in you when you staged the photos. That was so classic and funny, and brought some much needed royal drama to the wedding. If I was Meghan, I would have seen the funny side, and be actually proud of you, that you were willing to do such a classic publicity stunt, just to create a good image for your daughter. It’s the intentions which matter, and contrary to popular belief, that Sir was an act of love.
So take heart Sir, you were so much like my Daddy, a man of honour and integrity, yet had a naughty cheeky side.
My Daddy did for me all things you did for Meghan, he always wanted me to have the best education. He wanted me to make it as a writer, artist and journalist, so much he always used to tell me to write to Oprah so I could tell my story to her. He was so obsessed with the idea of me meeting Oprah, so much he told me to draw her to get her attention. When that didn’t work, when I launched BBE awards, he told me to invite Oprah and give her a Lifetime Achievement Award, he was like, “That will get her attention Jean, that will work trust me, don’t worry Oprah will interview you mwanangu.”
So when I saw Meghan on Oprah, telling all those lies, saying she “lost” her Father, and she didn’t really know who Samantha was, I was so angry with her Sir, and I began to write.
It’s sad that Meghan can not appreciate how you got her connected to be the woman she is today, my Daddy died still trying to get me connected so I can make it, as a journalist he would give me any contact in Zimbabwe I wanted, from music legends like Thomas Mapfumo, to millionaires like Philip Chiyangwa , but to him it was not enough, he wanted me to make it internationally.
It has been an amazing journey sir, writing about your estranged Daughter, even from a journalist’s point of view, but more so from a personal point of view. I have learnt so much, I have met so many amazing people online who appreciate my writing.
In the last few weeks I found myself wearing black a lot, and dressed my children in black. I had no idea it was a sign, that I was about to wear garments of mourning as I wrote about Meghan.
Now my dear Papa is gone, so I am now on a different journey. I am now a different person to how I was yesterday, before I lost my Daddy. Right now, my world is very dark, just like garments I was wearing. I don’t even know if the sun will ever shine again.
I thank you for raising an amazing daughter in Samantha, a woman so misunderstood, but with a heart of gold. She has helped me a lot during this week as I grieve my Papa, and I was so enjoying reading her book before Daddy passed. I hope Sam won’t mind me sharing these screenshots, but this is how she has been there for me during this dark hour.
Today I even thank Meghan, I thank her from the bottom of my heart because she made me appreciate my old man in his last days on earth. I thank God, that my writing about Meghan paid off, God used her mightily for me to honour my Father, and make him smile on his death bed. I am so glad I listened to my gut instincts, even though so many black people hated me for writing about her, but it gave me a chance to tell Papa as he was dying, that I was so proud to be his girl.
I don’t know how to pen off this article, but that’s all I wanted to say Sir….that if Meghan can’t see the perfect Father in you, I do…and my Papa would have wanted me to write to you openly, and thank you.
Mary-Tamar was Jean