Book Title: Absence of the Father
Author: Nke Serobe
Serobe, Nke. Absence of the Father. Johannesburg: Family House Publishers, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-620-62569-2
Available in print and electronic formats (epub & kindle)
Review by Constance van Niekerk
Absence of the Father is a book authored by South African Pastor, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker, Nke Serobe. Pastor Serobe shares her personal experience of growing up without a father. We are shown the world through the eyes of a young girl who grows up not knowing who her father was. Although her mother spoiled her with material wealth, all the expensive things failed to fill the void left by her absent father.
She mentions in her book that some fathers might be physically present but snot offering any advice or moral support to their children. Many fathers are not involved in the day to day lives of their children and area emotionally unavailable.
In her book, Pastor Nke shares intimate details of her life; I find that many women in Africa can relate to her life story. As it is not easy for fathers to bond with their daughters in the traditional set-up, fathers become as good as absent. Perhaps this is changing with the times due to westernization and new knowledge easily accessible to fathers on the internet. As for the oldies like us, it was a taboo to hear a father tell his daughter, or even son that he loves them. Fathers hardly spoke in the home, they arrived from work and bury their faces in newspapers while they awaited supper. After supper, they headed straight to bed. The effects of having such a father are just as bad as the father who is physically absent.
Absence of the Father does not only talk about biological fathers but also explains that the as humans, we are physical and spiritual beings. In as much as the physical body yearns for the presence of a biological father, the spiritual also needs the presence of the spiritual Father, who is God. Pastor Nke says that when you don’t know your biological father, you lack identity and you forever have emptiness in you. So many times she herself had tried to fill up this emptiness with men, but the only way is to develop a relationship with your spiritual Father, God, He alone can give you identity. He alone can fill the emptiness.
There were parts of the books that brought me to tears. I felt a strong connection to this woman regardless the fact that I grew up with both parents. Her story is the story of many African daughters, whether with a physically present father or not. It is quite an intimate story woven with love so raw that you can feel her emotions on each and every page.
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