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An interview with my father: Father, daughter and son open up

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Fathers shape society with their love, wisdom and support for their children.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Fathers are more than just parental figures. They are our mentors, our cheerleaders, disciplinarians, and our first heroes.

Ahead of Father’s Day tomorrow, Lifestyle compiled heartfelt stories from Kenyan youth on how their fathers moulded them into the women and men they are today.

Think about the unforgettable life lessons that your dad shared during a long matatu ride or at the family dinner table.

The lessons that he taught you about the value of hard work and perseverance. These moments stick with us. What are the things to thank your father for on this Father’s Day?

Nelson Ng’ang’a

Nelson Ng’ang’a is lawyer at HB & Company Advocates.

Photo credit: Pool

Nelson Ng’ang’a, 27, Lawyer at HB & Company Advocates

Dear Dad, 

Writing this has made me reflect on how I have always looked up to you. As a child, I knew you, my father, had all the answers. In my eyes, you knew everything.

But as a man now, I know there are some things you didn’t know. I realised that fathers don’t always know everything, and aren’t always in touch with issues affecting our generation. 

When I was younger and unwise, I thought your views were outdated, so I began to seek your advice less and less.

I always wondered why you could not see things differently, but now in my late 20s, I have realised that it was not your fault, you simply grew up at a different time.

Now I get it. 

I have even found myself doing things the way I saw you doing them because you were a good example. 

I look at the things you did when you were my age and I feel challenged. I wonder how you did it.

How did you manage to create and sustain a loving family? How did you know you were going to be successful in future?

How were you able to escape that ‘village’ as you often call it? It is impressive that you did this despite the challenges you faced.

I always try to imagine trying to succeed in a world with limited access to information like you did. Did you ever question yourself? 

Did you ever think that perhaps you would not make it out of the village? I question myself every day. I wonder whether I am on the right path.

At times, I get tempted to compare myself with my age-mates, who seem to be doing better than me in life. 

Did you encounter such a challenge, or is this among the many problems affecting our generation due to technological advances and social media? 

Did you ever feel depressed when something you believed in wasn’t working out? Did you ever feel depressed, or did that word not exist during your time?

We may still disagree on certain issues, but I just want to say thank you for all that you have done for me. 

Your guidance has shaped me into the person I am today. 

I believe that I am still a work in progress and that I will also succeed in my endeavours because of your presence and guidance in my life.
I love you dad! 

Eunice Ndiga

Eunice Ndiga is a Civil Engineer.

Photo credit: Pool

Eunice Ndiga, 25, Civil Engineer

Dear Dad, 

It is interesting how the funniest and most heroic stories I know are about you. Whenever I think of a good story about you, it evokes laughter and admiration.

Dads are their daughters’ heroes, but you were a different kind of hero. You said, ‘Work hard so that you will be free.’ Oh, how that statement has proved to be true every day! You said, ‘Mind your business and live your life.’ 

At first, your principles did not make sense to me because I wanted what most girls get from their fathers—flowers and chocolates. 

Now when people tell me stories about you, I imagine you in them. It would have been nice to hear them from you but death does not announce its arrival.

Your stories did not die with you. We still tell them. My siblings and I still laugh and marvel at how intriguing a character you were. 

Often, my brother and I would do something, and mum would say, ‘You truly are your father’s child.’ Worry not, they are usually nice things.

You embodied bravery and courage, and you stood by your beliefs and principles.

I am lucky I understand the power of believing in something—the power of standing up for what you believe in even when you are the only one who believes in it. I think it must have taken a lot of courage and discipline to be you.

Every human being is uniquely different and that is our power. I may not be you, but I have tried to adopt some of that courage and discipline you kept talking about. 

On a few occasions, I got in trouble for it, but is that not the very demand of these principles? Now there are stories about me as well. You will be happy to know I am not doing too badly. I hope they welcome stories in heaven too. I miss you, soldier.

Allan Polycarp

Allan Polycarp is a Digital Marketer.

Photo credit: Pool

Allan Polycarp, 25, Digital Marketer

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. 

You probably don’t realise it’s today, but you know I will always call to remind you how you have been the man who built me—both literally and metaphorically,

Seriously, though, throughout my entire existence, you have always put family above everything else. 

Before I was born, you were a parent to your siblings. Then I came along and took you on a rollercoaster of scary decisions and occasional moments to make you a proud dad. 

You have always reminded us that we are all humans, and to be human is to err. You acknowledge your misdeeds and use them as inspiration and lessons to guide me and my siblings.

You never shy away from tough conversations.

I remember the day I decided to pursue a career in journalism. You thought I was kidding, but you forgot that I got my determination and assertiveness from you. You supported me.

Later, I chose a career in marketing, which confused me even more, but now you see the fruits of your labour because you never stopped loving or supporting any of your dreams and goals.

Your persistence is unmatched. 

I still remember you pushing each of us to read “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene and “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki (I must confess I still haven’t read them). This shows how much you’ve always wanted the best for us. 

I know you’ve always valued education, and you instilled that love of learning in me. But you also taught me that the world is a classroom, and some of the most valuable lessons are learned outside of textbooks.

You showed me the importance of asking questions, seeking truth, and using my voice to make a difference. 

I’m not sure how you managed to raise three children with such wildly different personalities. You nurtured my dreams, even when they seemed outlandish. You always listened to my half-baked ideas, even when they probably deserved an eye roll.

I could go on, but the perks of journalism school mean knowing the editor will probably chop this letter in half because of word count, so I’ll end it here.

I want you to know we love and cherish you. We appreciate the lessons you’ve taught us, and we don’t take the sacrifices lightly. Now sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. PS: Don’t frame and hang this page of the newspaper— it’s no longer 1970! 

Happy Father’s Day and lots of love from your stubborn firstborn.

Gertrude Nyambura

Gertrude Nyambura is 22 years old.

Photo credit: Pool

Gertrude Nyambura, 22 

Dear Dad,

You are the greatest man in my life and I’m writing this with a lot of joy and gratitude in my heart. 

They say a girl’s first love is their dad and I sure cannot agree more.

I remember when I was young, you used to take me to fun places to see the world and take lots of pictures. You used to call me, ‘my tiny best friend.’

The pictures we took remind me of how greatly I was loved as a child.

Even as a 22-year-old woman, I still feel the affection coming from you and it’s the greatest blessing I can ever brag about. You’ve been my mentor, my moral compass, and my greatest provider. You’ve watched me cry in my darkest days and you’ve been there to celebrate with me in my brightest days.

Whenever I was wrong, you would sit me down and tell me, “Nyambura, me and you are friends, but this is not the kind of person you are.” 

You would then guide me in the right direction, and whenever I went against your advice, trust me, I regretted it.

You have supported me through life. I’ve faced every milestone with you by my side, guiding me and feeding me with knowledge. You are one wise man and I feel blessed to have a mentor such as you.

You have shown me what’s wrong and right and have instilled the principles that guide me through life to this day.

I know I’ve been stubborn but I know you meant well. 

I feel blessed to have a father like you and I would choose you as my dad in a1,000 more lifetimes.

What more could one ask for when they have a friend like you? You are also funny, and you fill rooms you walk into with joy, but I guess that runs in the family. Good genes, they say. 

I pray to God that you may live long just to see me succeed and give back all the love you sent my way. I never thought I would do this before but here is the ink putting out what is in my heart. I hope you listen. 

I love you, Dad!

Eric Kinyua

Eric Kinyua is a Software Developer.

Photo credit: Pool

Eric Kinyua, 28, Software Developer

Dear Dad,

As I look back on the incredible journey we’ve shared, I am filled with immense gratitude. Your love, wisdom, and unwavering support have profoundly shaped who I am.

I remember the early mornings, watching you head to work with that determined look in your eyes. 

Your resilience taught me the value of hard work and perseverance.

The conversations we had during long rides, as you shared life lessons and stories from your youth. These are moments I cherish deeply. 

You showed me the importance of humility, integrity, and staying true to our roots.

You are my mentor and my first hero. Thank you, dad, for being my guiding star and for inspiring me to dream big.

Your influence has been a steady beacon, lighting my path through life’s challenges and triumphs. 

This Father’s Day, for all you’ve done for me, I celebrate you.

Happy Father’s Day!