Happy Father’s Day to the 9Lives dads!

The 9Lives team is a group of very different people, and we are in very different stages of our lives. Some of us are married, others already have a significant other by their side and some of us are still enjoying the perks of being single. But the one thing that we have in common is that our first loves will always be our dads. In celebration of Father’s Day, here are the dads behind the 9Lives team!

Carmen

When asked to write a piece about what my dad means to me, I thought this would be easy. I also thought it would be easy to find a photo of the two of us, but I was wrong on both counts (I had to snap this pic last weekend).

It’s hard to put everything I want to say about my dad into words, because I know once I find the words they probably won’t stop coming — and no one wants to read a 2 000 word post about the dad of someone they’ve never met. My dad and I are very alike, in both looks (thanks for the ginger hair, Dad!) and personality, which means we’ve always been able to get along very well. He can be a bit weird sometimes, especially when it comes to his taste in music and his inexhaustible general knowledge, but he’s my weirdo.

When I was little, he’d read me bedtime stories before tucking me in almost every night, and in the process he awakened my love of reading. He introduced me to Harry Potter and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, my two ultimate favourite books that I keep returning to time and time again. He also helped me broaden my horizons with the weird music and movies he enjoys, even though my mom and I will sometimes roll our eyes behind his back when he puts on the strangest songs.

My dad took me to the annual father-daughter dance at our church every year without fail (he even dressed up with me!), and he never missed a netball game or choir performance. Even though he forgot to pick me up after school once or twice because he was too absorbed in what he was doing at the time, and even though he sometimes forgets my age and scolds me for watching 18+ shows, I still think he’s the best.

They say a girl’s first love is her dad, and I agree completely. He’s shown me how to be strong and how men should treat women. He’s the kindest, smartest and weirdest man I know, and I wouldn’t change a thing!

Lief vir jou, Pappa!

Elené

Ek was net ‘n paar jaar oud toe my pa vir die eerste keer vir langer as net ‘n paar dae op toer gegaan het. Ek het elke aand met sy braaitang gaan slaap omdat ek so baie na hom verlang het. Deesdae, bly my Pa in die Vrystaat en ek in Stellenbosch. Hy gaan steeds lank op toer en ons sien mekaar te min, maar hoe ouer mens word, hoe meer diepte kry mens se verhouding met jou ouers.

Ja, my pa bel my nog om te raas oor al my spoedboetes, maar hy bel ook om vir my ‘n lekker rooiwyn voor te stel, of ‘n nuwe kunstenaar aan te beveel of om te praat oor die nuutste familie skindernuus. Ek, aan die ander kant, bel steeds my pa as ek hartseer is, en as ek gelukkig is, en as ek groot besluite moet neem, maar veral as ek huistoe verlang.

Een van die dae gaan my Pa my ook moet weggee as ek trou en alhoewel ek alreeds soveel grootmens besluite moes neem, voel ek steeds soos die kleindogtertjie met die braaitang wat na haar Pa verlang. Mens kan nie jou ouers kies nie, maar ek sal my Pa elkgeval altyd weer kies!

Liezel

Whenever I watch Mr Bean, I think of my dad. That goofy fool in his teeny tiny car would get my dad laughing from the pit of his stomach, cackling and slapping his knee, tears running down his cheeks. And us kids would roll around in hysterics, laughing at his laughter.

I grew up listening to him play Simon & Garfunkel on the guitar. He took us to watch musicals like Cat and the Kings in the Baxter Theatre. On Saturdays we’d turn up the volume in the living room and bounce around to Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi, or belt out the anthems of the 1994 Rugby World Cup soundtrack. Come the day and come the hour…

Winter holidays took us to Kruger National Park, where we’d spend cold nights sardined into one tent, listening to my dad read stories about rangers and lions and leopards. And I remember feeling so safe despite the wilderness around me.  

Now I see my dad with my daughter and my heart overflows. He pulls the funniest faces to make her smile and she loves babbling away as though telling him all about her day. And I know she is in the very best hands.

That’s the thing about my dad – his shoulders are broad and his arms are always open. I know I can always go back to being his little girl. When I was a university student, he would fill my tank with petrol and make sure I had airtime and groceries. Even today he’ll still top up my electricity, or send a gardener round to pull out weeds.

My dad keeps giving me solid ground to stand on and for that I am forever grateful. Adulting can be tough, and it’s good to know that sometimes someone else will steer the ship, giving me a bit more time to grow up.

Marié

Dit is my tweede jaar op die mooie Potchefstroomkampus en hierdie koshuisbrak se yskas is leeg, wasgoedmandjie vol en ek is oppad huistoe. Dit is 4uur en die regte MVP bel om my te laatweet ek moet hom kry by Heidelberg Club. Net om jou ‘n bietjie konteks te gee: Heidelberg Club bestaan al vir meer as 150 jaar en dit is die naaste wat jy aan ‘n kuierplek in die klein plaasdorpie sal kry.

Met dit ingedagte kom ek vertel my storie verder. My pa se woorde is nog nie eers koud nie toe draai ek links na die klein, donker, maar lieflike pub. Ek stap deur die deure en daar sit hy met twee koue biere voor hom en wag. Ek plak myself langs hom neer, gryp ‘n bier en so het die jare lange tradisie begin. Die tradisie bestaan uit: Elke Saterdagmiddag om 4uur ontmoet ons, geniet ‘n paar biere en so nou en dan ‘n melktertjie (moenie vrae vra nie, die rede daarvoor is ‘n storie vir ‘n ander dag). Ons sorteer al die probleme in die hele wêreld uit en daarna keer ons huiswaarts na waar my sussie en my ma wag, want hulle uitnodiging tot die tradisie het in die pos weggeraak.

Ek is nie meer ‘n student nie en ons tradisie is nie meer moontlik nie, maar dit is seker een van my gunsteling herinneringe oor die kaaskop met die blou oë wat ek pa noem. Alhoewel ons nie meer so gereeld saam ‘n bier kan drink nie, ruil ons nogsteeds fotos van ons Saterdag gesellighede uit en ek kan maar weet as my foon lui, dit die ou man is wat net “bietjie wil kak praat”.

Petertjie, ek drink vandag ‘n koue een op jou!

Tasha

It’s difficult to put down in words what my dad means to me. I mean, this is the person that taught me how to read, and what those big words meant. The person who stood by me when I decided that I was going to take a gap year, and then put me through varsity. With seemingly infinite patience, he taught me how to drive, and when I scratched my car for the first time, he taught me the value of knowing that first cars are supposed to look like that. My dad also spent an entire day driving up to Pretoria with me, my entire life packed into the back of my little Polo, so that I could start my first year of university at TUKS.

I have memories of spending long hours discussing everything from world views to what religion means, erratically hopping from one subject to the next until we weren’t sure how the conversation even started; late nights looking at funny images on the internet – before memes were even a thing – and laughing so loudly that it woke my mom in the next room. Memories of  staying up so that he could help me with my homework and those forgotten, last minute projects that just wouldn’t come together (thanks for the help with that windsock!).

I know what my dad means to me. What I don’t know is how I’ll ever be able to say thank you for the years of patience that he had for a troublesome and cheeky little redhead. How to thank him for drying all the tears and helping me say goodbye to all those loved and lost pets.

But Daddy, I’ll always be your kiddo. And you’ll always be the first person I run to when I get in trouble.

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