A Father’s Place

Michelle Okafor
3 min readJun 18, 2023
Photo by Mieke Campbell

As we celebrate Fathers Day today, I want to celebrate my father. He was a good man, a man who toiled for his family, a man who grew up in rural Namibia, on a farm with only the bare necessities. He always told us that you don’t get anything for nothing.

When he saw the opportunity to make something more out of his life, he got on a truck at the age of 17 that was on route to South Africa with the promise of work. He did not know what lay ahead, but he took the chance anyway. All he knew was that the company was in construction. He did not know whether he would have to build houses, factories or skyscrapers. He was quite industrious, learned quickly and could adapt to almost any situation.

He met my mother and they decided to settle down. They had 5 children. I was the second and first daughter. My mother was a nurse. My father did any job that paid him enough to support his family. Some years we would be latchkey kids, some other years, I would come home from school to my mother who was then retired.

I finished high school and moved to Cape Town to live with my aunt and uncle and further my studies. Those were good years. Throughout all this time my parents, but especially my father, encouraged me a lot. He always said I can be anything I want to be. I thought to myself, not really dad. It still gave me a sense of self-confidence and enthusiasm that marked my 20s.

My father passed away in 2014 at the age of 61. I am eternally grateful for all the years I spent with him in my life. It made me the person I am today.

The year I turned 30, I met my husband. We fell in love and got married within a year. I’m not sure if the rush was because I was turning 30 and knew my biological clock was ticking, or if I actually found my soulmate. I think he felt the same.

We celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary this past Friday. We have 2 beautiful boys and I can not ask for anything more. I am grateful that my husband, just as my father, is a good man. He does everything in his power to make sure his family is comfortable and taken care of. His work takes him away from home frequently, but he is always in touch with all of us on a daily basis. We are blessed.

I hope for everyone reading this, that you are or will one day experience the same. A present father is invaluable in a child’s life. I know that circumstances change, people change and things may not have worked out as you planned. Still, never lose hope that one day things will get better.

To all the fathers reading this, happy fathers day!



Michelle Okafor

Writer of short, inspirational pieces. Make the most of your time here, for we pass this way only once. See the good in yourself and others.