Dear Deadbeat African Parent(s)

Deadbeat parent is a pejorative term used to describe parents of either gender who have freely chosen not to fulfill their parental obligations.

Black family

Dear Deadbeat African Moms & Dads,

This is not a regular letter. This is a letter to inform you that your actions and inactions definitely have consequences, which you might already be facing.

Don’t expect to return after years of abandonment into wide waiting open arms. You do not choose to dodge your responsibilities and expect love, care and attention showered upon you by the very ones you abandoned. No, those are earned. Be ready to face the consequences and stop trying to impose yourself on the child/family you left behind to enjoy the world like a prodigal son.

It is up to the left-behinds to decide if they want you back, to share the life they’ve learnt the hard way to live without you, and to forgive you.
You have NO RIGHT to make such demands just because you are their biological mother or father.

Sincerely,

A pissed-off African child.


It was Fathers’ Day on Sunday, and amid all the celebrations and appreciations of fathers, I (and many others) could not help but notice how some women thought it the perfect time to shade the men in their lives. One person in Nigeria who has never missed using Fathers’ Day to throw a jab at her child’s father is Nollywood actress, Tonto Dike, the “I said what I said” King. Her colleague, Mercy Aigbe, also made a debut this year, joining the single mothers who wished themselves a Happy Fathers’ Day because their children’s fathers are allegedly deadbeat, leaving them to take up the dual parenthood roles.

This drama reminded me of an incident that happened months ago.

I was listening to the radio on my way to work, as per usual. The hosts, a guy and a lady, brought up a story that trended on social media over the weekend and it was about a man who called out his ex-wife on social media for marrying their daughter off, traditionally, in his absence. Miss Host felt there must have been something terrible the father did to have warranted being exempted from his daughter’s wedding and that the child in question was a grown woman who was old enough to decide if she wanted her father present at her wedding. Mr Host, on the other hand, believed that no matter what the man may have done, it was wrong that he was not invited to his daughter’s wedding.

The discussion went on through the thirty minutes of the show with callers calling in to give their takes on the matter. However, where this got more attention-grabbing for me was when Mr Host and many of the male callers based their opinions on culture and tradition. Their stand was that it was culturally wrong for a father not to be present at his child’s wedding unless, of course, he was dead.

Miss Host then asked her co-host, “What if the man had been a deadbeat father that never cared or catered for his child/family, does he still get to claim his rights at such a child’s wedding?”

To my utmost dismay, the male presenter and his goons still thought the deadbeat father SHOULD be there to CLAIM HIS RIGHT because that is what Nigerian/African culture demands. And not doing so is an abomination. They insisted that “Your father is your father, no matter what he has done, and you can’t replace your sperm donor with someone else even if he CHOSE not to be involved in your life.”

Like, what the flipping heck? What frigging right is there to claim?

That was not all; Mr Host insisted we were losing our identity to the Western world by adopting most of their cultures.

QUICK ONE: Please, is there anyone reading this post stark naked outside their house? Do you not have a bed or a mattress in your room? Tell me, are you reading this post through an electronic gadget or not? Oh wait, I forgot, your phone/laptop must be carved out of the iroko tree in my late grandfather’s compound. (My grandfather never had an iroko tree in his compound, anyway)

Pray tell, who decides which of the foreign cultures we adopt is RIGHT and which is WRONG? Is right and wrong not based on what best suits each one of us?

To say I was livid would be an understatement. I was visibly shaking on the bike so much so the person riding the bike with me had to ask if I was okay. No jokes, guys, it was that bad. By the time I got to the office, I wasn’t anywhere near calm. I couldn’t contain my anger, so I went on twitter to call out Mr Host’s BS.

The female host even gave an example of how in this same Nigeria, it was once an abomination to have twins. Yes, we once upon a time, killed all twins born until Mary Slessor came to the rescue. If not for her, I may never have met my wonderful barefooted poet, Joy, my sweet Precious and my office boss lady, Augustina, who are all twins. Why didn’t we insist on culture and tradition then, huh?

Okay, maybe that is a bit far-fetched because there was killing involved. What about the foreign religion we now so sanctimoniously practice? Why did we accept that culture? The white wedding ceremony we almost can’t do without, was it ever part of African culture? The pair of trousers you wear, the skirts, shirts, gowns, panties, bras and underwear you and I don, were they originally part of your African culture?

Why then should anyone insist that because it is a culture or tradition, a parent who has intentionally refused to live up to his/her responsibilities to their child and family can return after donkey years to claim some frigging rights, because it is the culture? When will some persons drop their wilful archaic mentality for light?

Why are we so hypocritical tho?

Ewo, ema ti e stress me, abeg. (Please, don’t stress me)

I ask again, who decides which of the foreign cultures we adopt is right or wrong?

I believe it is statements like that of Mr Host and the hypocrisy that surrounds our refusal to drop certain traditions because they don’t suit our agenda that encourage deadbeatness (if there’s anything like that) in parenting. I mean, these people know they can choose to neglect their responsibility and come back much later to ask for forgiveness or claim rights.

Phew! I need me a glass of water.

Dear Africans, we MUST do more. I know it’s not just an African thing but I choose to address us because, charity begins at home.

10+

Bolaji Gelax

Hey, Star! Thanks for stopping by my world. I'm a gorgeous, sassy radio junkie who enjoys playing devil's advocate. I love everything that makes me happy, which includes the Stars in my #Galaxy. They call me MISS FLOWERY because I bring good vibes, love and light. Feel free to explore my world ❤✨

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14 thoughts on “Dear Deadbeat African Parent(s)

  1. Dear B.J, thank you for writing on this issue.
    It has been one I just can’t keep cool about. I do not in anyway support “Deadbeatism” if there is any word for it. That is why I think that before anyone engages in sexual intercourse, you must think of the pros and cons. Don’t only focus on the few minutes of pleasure, remember that there is a possibility for a child to spring forth from it. When you remember this, ask yourself if you are ready.
    Having said that, once you bring a child into this world he/she is your responsibility because they never asked to be brought, na you bring am!
    If you cannot brace up and take up your responsibility, please make sure you walk away forever and ever.
    Don’t ever come back and start claiming any stupid right!
    The day you decided to walk away, you lost your right!
    Now I am referring to both male and female because we have also seen cases where it is the mother who left and the child is raised by a single father.
    As a married woman it is not easy raising kids with my husband so I may be unable to explain what single parents go through on their own.
    I believe that deadbeat parents have no rights whatsoever.
    If at the end of the day, the child decides to look for you, then you should be grateful that maybe God wants to give you a second chance. Also if along the way you decided to have sense and return like a prodigal father/mother, please whatever you are served, eat it with thanksgiving.
    Anybody that wants to start talking about Western culture and African culture and the rights of a deadbeat parent should first, remove their clothes, take of their footwear and throw away their phones then we can start discussing.

    3+
    1. Apparently, many think with their genitals, and for them it’s all about push in and pull out. A lot of things could have and can still be avoided if only people will pause to think for a moment before taking certain actions.

      Ah no, will they hear? It boils down to patriarchy system where a man/father can do anything and get away with it because he has phallus dangling between his legs. Eish!

      Thank you more for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with the rest of the #Galaxy. Sending love and sunshine your way, mammy.

      1+
  2. Festorfost, Mr. Host is one of the apes walking the earth with akamu for brains.

    They were raised with a biased culture that tells them that no matter what the father does, he has a right to claim on his children’s wedding day.

    The worst part? Nollywood endorses this narrative with their pathetic tales of fathers who suddenly reappear from the blues after years of abandoning their responsibilities.

    God will continue to bless single mothers like Ngozi who will never bow to that nonsense.

    Deadbeat parents don’t deserve a seat at the table when their children are celebrating anything abeg!

    3+
    1. Heheheee… I can’t laugh abeg.

      I agree, they are raised to feel entitled and it’s worse when they use the “Honour your father…” verse from the Bible to back this up.

      Ah yes, Nollywood did the most but I’m glad there are gradual changes. We hope for bigger strides.

      0
  3. Nawa sha. E be really tins o.

    A person CHOSE to leave your life, chose to stay away. You dealt with the trauma and everything else that came with their absence. Then on a day you consider important, they insist on showing up because they believe that culture and tradition gave them a place in your life that can never be erased. Worse, there are people who support them.

    The nerve. The audacity.

    Look at me, sir. I am culture and tradition. I have not erased your place, I have filled it adequately. Judas, meet Mathias. (Acts 1:20, 23-26) Go back to the shadows. Press your face to the window from outside and watch, if you can stomach it. See how God didn’t shame me. And when you lie in bed at night, in that place between sleeping and waking, gnash your teeth.

    1+
    1. The supporters are the enablers. Who can blame them though? Ain’t they all birds of a feather? Mtcheeew!

      Ah ah aaaah, na real Judas meet Mathias😂

      Your comment made me laugh, thank you, Joy😁

      E. B. Things

      0
  4. They’re just sperm donors kawai! At least let us see the effort to actually ‘father’ that child. Mtchewwww. You want to reap where you’ve not sown because of tradition. It’s not peculiar to one gender but we know the debate leans more against those with two different chromosomes. They can do better.

    Meanwhile, I won’t laud those women for saying Happy Fathers’ Day to themselves though. You can’t be a father and a mother, you just can’t. No matter how you try, the difference is there, the gap is present. Just enjoy the legion Mothers’ days and leave the responsible fathers to shine on the one day allotted to them, biko. We know women try a lot, no doubt but there are men doing an amazing job too.

    2+
    1. Yeah, both genders belong to the #ReapersClub. I can’t even deal, please.

      True, I also wish we would leave that one day for the good fathers, at least. You could even drag them the next day.

      2+
  5. None of this is culture or tradition, all of it is patriarchy

    I do resent the idea that Africans had nothing before Europeans. Clothes don’t originate from them, neither did underwear. Sure style influences occurred but that was forced, not liked and adopted. It is now ingrained and indoctrinated in us

    Also I resent the idea that some think killing twins was African culture, it was merely a small group that did that and a very minute one at that, elsewhere they were celebrated, a sign of prosperity, and so on. Why do you think fertility dolls were constantly made in many African cultures?

    Some would open their mouths and dare say that culture allows for neglectful deadbeats to attend a wedding. But it is the same fools that say that that also say that the Bible said women shouldn’t wear jewelry because lol Timothy or Thessalonians or whatever said.

    Human beings have always found a way to pervert that which is good to suit their needs and it’s not the first time. It also won’t be the last.

    If you don’t want something, don’t take it. No matter how they force you, don’t take it. If you truly stand firm on your beliefs and ideals, they no born person wey fit shake you off.

    Just stay happy and be yourself. Everyone uses tradition once in a while to argue stupid things. It doesn’t show they’re right, it shows ignorance and folly. Because if they really knew tradition, they’ll know that what they’re saying was never supported by it originally

    1+

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