Paternal Love – the Lacuna in Childhood [opinion]

It is very common in Namibia many people grew up without experiencing fatherly love.

The love, support and care from both parents is a crucial part of child development but due to different circumstances that are out of one’s control, many found themselves lacking fatherly love throughout childhood. For some it is because their fathers died while they were young or alive but never been there for them, or simply not knowing where they are or who they are for that matter. But whatever the case may be, it is those little emotions that impact your childhood and may shape your adulthood, but how you deal and come to terms with it is the real deal.

I for one grew up in a surrounding where everybody has hisher father. Being a very sentimental person that I am, it is rather ironic how growing up without a father, or rather not knowing him at all, really never got to me during my childhood to the point of drowning in a river of depression. I guess I was given enough maternal love, that somehow filled the paternal gap, because I never knew my father but I was blessed with two loving and supporting mothers. But as I got older I started experiencing nostalgic vibes once in a while. I would wonder just how it feels to have a father, thinking maybe my life would have been totally different if I had a father.

It was just embarrassing rather to grow up without a father, not because he died or something but simply because you do not know where to find him. I only came to to know my father’s family when I was 12 years old, and that was at his funeral when a death announcement was made on radio and the details matched that on my full birth certificate. But not even while lying in his coffin did I get to see his face, I ran out of luck. I would mostly associate myself with male friends than female simply to fill the gap I was just surrounded by female people during my childhood.

Puna Shaduka grew up with her mother and grandmother in Otjiwarongo. She says her father is alive but they are not close and had never been there for her. “My mother and grandmother have been giving me all the love that I needed. When I moved to Windhoek to stay with my uncle, that is when I felt fatherly love because my uncle has been just like a father to me.”

Shaduka adds that it is not a good thing having a father who does not care for you. She further says that she and her father only used to see each other at funerals and family occasions once in a while. “That is why one day when I have kids I would want them to be close to their father and receive all the love from both their parents.”

Natalie Ephraim (29), says her father left her mother when she got pregnant with her. She only came to know him when she was about eight years old but then he disappeared again. “I do not have constant contact with my father up to now and he is never been part of my life. It has been just me and my mother and she is the best I ever had. But there were just times when I wished my father was there even just for sometimes.”

Hilde Alex says, “My father died when I was just a little girl but I still remember things that I used to do with him. It has not been easy growing up without a father but I was raised by my mother and step father who always treated me like one of his own. I never lacked anything I had all the love from both my mother and stepfather as he has been so wonderful with me and my siblings and treated us equally.”

Well, we all wished we had it all, you sometimes wish you could turn back the hands of time and change things differently, but it is what it is and that is the harsh reality that we have to live with. I do not believe we fall prey to fate, we shape our own destiny.


1) Puna Shaduka who grew up with her mother and grandmother and only sees her father occasionally.

Picture: Paternal Love 1

2) Hilde Alex’s father died when she was four years old and was raised by her mother and stepfather.

Picture: Paternal Love 2

3) Ndahafa Martinlost bother her parents, her father died when she was 10 years and her mother followed when she was 16 years.

Picture: Paternal Love 3

Source : New Era