Like many Black boys, the only thing my father did for me was to give me a name which at the end never became mine. This is because the day my Mother went to register my birth with the “Home affairs” officials, they changed it to “Antoon.” A name which has a Dutch and Limburgish origin. Like my father, I’ve seen many other Black men fight tooth and nail just so that their newly birthed children can be named by them.

My parents’ romantic relationship never lasted long. At the end my Mother founder herself on the way back home in the Free State while Phetogo, my father remained in Kimberly, his hometown and a place where Kagiso I were birthed. Kagiso and i were cared for by my Mother who has done nothing but to show us love and teach us compassion. My mother later began calling me Mpho, a name which for her signified my birth as a gift from the Black Gods. My birth for her meant that, I was a second chance since she lost her first child during her first marriage.

I had to forgo their childhood and soon transition to being an adult, caring for Kagiso while my Mother worked at Miss Linda’s kitchen in town, letting go of street soccer and only going to the library when possible, I understood that my Mother and I had become each other’s supporters in the quest to ensure that the lights remained on. Regardless of all of this, I remain by my Mother’s side while my father continues searching for himself.

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