Dear Daddy (Open letter to fathers who have abandoned their children)


Dear Daddy

This article was originally published on in 2007.  I had a weekly column.  I had no idea life would imitate art and one day 10 years later it would look like I wrote this through the lenses of my daughter. She is only 2…

On this mothers day, I want to honor all mothers out there but more so those who take on the dual role of both mom and dad.  No-one will ever understand how hard it is,unless you walk the path but we do it with the grace that only God bestows mothers. We love our children, we would do anything for them. BUT can we get the men to grow up! It takes 2 people to make a child.  Our African culture frowns on us talking about this sort of thing.  You will either be labelled bitter, or painted as still fawning over the ex, and what good woman opens her armpits (sic) and discusses these things?!

Anyway, I dare talk about it today as a single mom taking care of my daughter solo, as I did 10 years ago when I wrote this article.

With those words:



Letter to all the fathers who have abandoned their kids.


Hi Daddy

I am just writing this letter to talk to you and tell you what’s been going on with me and ask you why you don’t want me or love me.


I don’t want you to think that mommy put me up to this as a way to annoy you.  She doesn’t even know that I am doing this.  It’s just that sometimes when I’m watching other kids with their dads, I just wonder what’s so special about those kids that their fathers didn’t leave them or act like they don’t exist like you did with me.


Daddy, last week was my birthday and I wished for the same thing I wish for all the time.  I wished that you would just call or write and tell me that you loved me.  I’ve heard some people call me a bastard because you are not around.  What’s a bastard daddy? Why do they call me that?  What really happened with mommy?  No one wants to tell me but whatever it is daddy, please don’t punish me.



I’ve head different stories but I’m not sure which one is true.  Some say mommy tried to trap you into marrying her by getting pregnant with me.  They say that you were not ready for marriage but mommy kept insisting and finally she “got herself” pregnant and she was secretly hoping that you would do the “right” thing and marry her.  Is that true daddy?  Was I just a pawn on the negotiating table and did the stakes get too high?


I’ve heard rumors that you were actually married when you met mommy and you lied to her about your marital status.  Is it true that you refused to use protection with mommy because you said it didn’t feel the same and I heard you said something to the effect of it was like eating sweets with the wrapper still on?  The people I heard talking about it said it was such a hot topic with you, even though mommy tried to reason with you and explain what could happen (pregnancy).  They say you would get upset with her.


To get her to lay with you without protection you would mentally manipulate her by saying stuff like,” You are wife, why should I use protection when I’m with you?”, “Even if you get pregnant, I will take care of you and the child”, “Condoms make you itch”.


It’s believed that mommy was so in love with you and was scared if she insisted on protection, you would leave her.  Well, she did get pregnant daddy, with me, and you stopped calling or coming over.  When she would call, you would say you are with your “real” family and you suspected that I wasn’t your child anyway.  You called mommy a whore and made her cry.  But, daddy, you know mommy didn’t cheat on you!  You know she worshiped the ground you walked on and all she wanted was to make you happy.  You convinced her that even if she got pregnant, you would take care of her.  I admit, mommy should have probably been more firm with her resolve, but daddy I’m here now.  You got upset with her because she wouldn’t have an abortion!


Did you really hate me that much even before I was born? Because I loved you from before I was born.


Daddy, I will probably never know the truth about what happened with mommy, only the two of you know, but I just ask that you don’t make me pay for both your mistakes.


Daddy do you have another family now? Is that why you don’t want me?  Does it upset your new wife or girlfriend that I exist?  Does she even know about me?  Do my brothers or sisters know of me?  I’m really curious daddy.  Sometimes I sit here and wonder if I look like more like your side of the family because mommy’s family looks so different from me.  When mommy’s upset with me she will say stuff like “kushata sababa”, ugly like your father?”  I don’t care anyway when she says that because it makes me feel good inside that I look like you-ugly or not.


I miss you daddy. I know they say you can’t miss that which you never had but daddy you are a part of me, and I am a part of you.  It upsets me that I have mommy’s last name on my birth certificate.  It’s like an announcement to the world that I am the child who has a dad who isn’t around.  Don’t get me wrong, I love mommy, and she tries her best to make sure that I don’t want for much, but I want you daddy.  I want your name!  I want people to know that I was born to two people who despite that they don’t love each other anymore; they put aside their feelings because they love me.


I promise I will be a good child.  I will make you proud and I will always do what you tell me to do.  I’ve heard that you don’t come around because you hate mommy now and she makes you feel like it’s all or nothing.  Either you are with her or you can’t see me!  If that is true daddy, is there a way you can find a mutual person or talk to aunts and uncles so they can mediate.  Please don’t let your squabbles and resentment you to have for each other play a part in my not seeing you.


I love you daddy.  Please love me too.  When I make it in life I want you to never want for anything.  I promise you will never have to work hard because I will take care of you.  You are my father and I love you.  For whatever mommy did to you that you didn’t like, I’m sorry.  Please forgive her if that’s what it will take for you to be in my life.


Daddy, I just want to know you.  It’s not about the money, no matter what the courts, mommy or the legal system says about the issue.  I just want to know you.  I want you to give me your last name.  I want you to be proud of me regardless of the circumstances surrounding my birth.  Please daddy.  If you read this, and you are not sure where mommy and I are, surely you must know someone who knows where we are.  Please find me daddy.


I love you and I can’t wait to hear from you.


Your baby


P/S:  Even though mommy says it, I don’t think you are ugly at all.  I think you are the best looking dad ever created.  Mommy’s just jealous.  Have you seen the nose on sekuru/umkulu (grand dad)!  I bet yours is nothing like that.  Bye daddy.



To all the fathers out there, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the birth of your kids, please don’t punish these innocent children.  Act like men and not dead beats.  There is no justification for not being in the lives of your children and supporting them!


Being a man is not about being biologically able to reproduce, but stepping up and taking care of that which you produce.  No excuses. Please find your kids if you don’t know where they are.  I know the mothers may be a bit much and may use the kids as pawns but I implore all you parents, enough with the games and abusing your kids and using them as bargaining chips!


That is reprehensible that anyone would do that and you should be ashamed of yourselves.  These kids didn’t ask to be born.  How they came to be conceived may have been a mistake but they are CERTAINLY not mistakes.  They are beautiful and they need love from both parents.  Be grown ups and do the right thing.


Be Blessed








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