MASERU – Most children who grow up without their fathers normally fail to reach their full potential of their goals in life because of lack of the essential patriarchal guidance.
But Khothatso Rakabaele, 25, is one of the few who used the ungainly circumstances of his life to his advantage and made the best of it.
Growing up in the rural village of Sefikeng in the district of Berea, Rakabaele had always been a reclusive child who prefers his own company.
It was never easy for him to come to terms with the thought of his father who jilted his mother and vanished from the family.
The loneliness drove him to be rebellious and he sought sanctuary in violence and alcohol as he started frequenting dangerous places from the tender age of 10 and immediately started taking alcohol.
To him there was no other way to relieve his pain except through drowning his sorrows in alcohol.
Ironically, Rakabaele neither had the love for writing nor an interest in the English language. But while he was at the point of destroying his life with booze, he miraculously found solace in a pen and paper.
First, he wrote his elusive father a long letter, telling him about the agony he suffered because of his unexplained absence. To date, he still has that letter written in 2015 in his possession.
He poured his heart to the missing man, telling him that his friends had their fathers to guide them while he was forced to face life alone.
The minute he started writing the letter, he could not stop. But peculiarly, that letter which was meant to cause harm to his missing father somehow helped the man to find some inner peace that subsequently helped him to heal.
It also dawned on him that after all, he had a flair for writing and that it was good for his soul as well as for his psychological being.
He developed plans to write a book and gave it the title – ‘Before Success’, but that project fell by the wayside because he just could not finish the book.
Through the book, he had wanted to discuss the challenges that young people encounter in life.
When that first project failed to take off, he shifted his focus to writing for young children who went through life without their fathers.
After working tirelessly, he finished the book and titled it ‘The cry of a fatherless son’.
Basically, the book discusses how fatherless children deal with the challenges associated with their plight.
“The book is not only a cry on behalf of all fatherless children in the world, but it also signifies that there is life without a father figure,” he says.
Through the book, he wants to warn missing fathers that their absence does not only hurt their children but their wives as well.
Rakabaele’s message to the men in question is that it takes nature to be a male but guts and responsibility to be a father.
“Their reckless behaviour places a generational curse on their children because the pain they feel due to their absence will not just affect them but their children’s children too because of the anger that was never dealt with.
“Secondly, I have a message to the youths in general. I want to tell them of the road ahead of them; that the road to success is tough, they will feel pain, discouragement and discomfort but at the end of the day success that comes with it is more important.
“If they can hold on to the pain, endure the discouragement and turn misfortunes into opportunities, they will see success,” he says.
He warns youths that they might also be fatherless but cautions them that that does not mean they will be futureless if they work hard towards their goals.
His decision to write was not only towards fulfilling his promise to himself to be able to pay for his studies but also to inspire other youths.
He is proud to proclaim that writing that book erased all the pain he once felt and adding that this has finally set him free from his past demons.
“The anguish caused by my absent father was inspirational to me to work harder and achieve my personal goals in life.
“It was actually a blessing in disguise because I believe that had he been present, I might not have been forced to write the book that changed my life for the better.
“Therefore, if by any chance he decides to return into my life, I am now ready to welcome him with open arms. But that will definitely not stop me from telling him that he is such a coward who almost ruined my life.”
His last memory of his father is when he was six years old and the man abducted him from his grandparents’ place and took him to his own house where they lived for a short time.
“The court however intervened and I was placed under the custody of my mother. Since then, I have never seen him or heard of him again,” he recalls.
Like any fatherless child, Rakabaele recalls how sad he was as a child because of the endless arguments he got into with his peers who used to spite him for not having a father around.
“My best friend used to talk about his father all the time and told me about the good things he did for him, the wonderful times they used to spend together.
“Although I always tried hard to hide it, I was jealous and angry. Even at that young age, I would ask God why he brought me to this earth of suffering.
He adds: “I bottled up that pain and it isolated me from other children until I became a recluse who preferred his own company.
“I entered manhood harbouring that pain and not knowing how to deal with it.”
He says every negative action towards him, no matter how small, triggered in him the pain he had been bottling in an inexplicable manner.
During all this time, his mother was unaware of his mood swings until he fell into a trap of seeking solace in alcohol.
He drunk and smoked dagga heavily through high school until he failed his module in 2015 while he was studying general accounting at the Centre for Accounting Studies (CAS).
After he was forced to leave the institute, he had a lot of time in his hands and he nearly drank himself to death.
“I smoked dagga like my life depended on it but one day I just woke up and told myself that I was not going to hurt myself and my family anymore,” he says.
He hated what he had become and wanted a different future from the one he was seeing in front of him, hence he abruptly changed his ways.
Growing up, Rakabaele wanted to be a lawyer, to fulfill the wishes of his grandmother who raised him.
“I wanted to make her proud and told her I wanted to study law but when I was in high school, I fell in love with accounting and I was hooked.
“My love and appreciation of accounts was intensified when I met my new accounting teacher who later had a huge influence on my life. The man became more than a teacher to me and played a father figure in my life,” he recalls with a smile.
He confidently describes women who raise their children single-handedly as champions who are worthy of being applauded.
Rakabaele is currently working towards his general accounting certificate which he failed initially.
Today he is a born-again Christian and a devoted member of the New Evidence Christian Church of God.
He currently stays in Ha Ts’osane, with his mother ’Malehlohonolo who works in Maseru.
Between 2001 and 2006, Rakabaele did his primary schooling at Selibeng English Medium School before he proceeded to Phomolong High School until 2012.
From 2014, he entered CAS for his certified Accounting Technician (CAT) qualification.
Once an alcohol and drug addict who despised the English Language, Rakabaele is today a published author and a born-again Christian who is determined to change people’s lives by encouraging them to do better and achieve their dreams by presenting before them, the journey he went through as a lost and hurt boy that nearly destroyed his future had he not come to his senses on time.