Letter from a scared dad   


5 July 2020

Vusi Nzapheza


Passing matric will make us proud but surviving the virus will be epic

Dear Azania (Nzapheza)

I hope this missive finds you well. I walk around with a grave face but I am scared too.

This year was supposed to be valedictory and your swan song. Now I doubt that I’ll take you to your matric dance.

For all intents and purposes, there won’t be any matric farewell events this year.

The year 2020 has been a year like no other, with the Coronavirus really upsetting the apple cart in a way nobody could have foreseen.

A few weeks into the lockdown, you asked me why would a pandemic happen during your matric year. I chose the philosophical route and explained that pandemics happened periodically and that in 2009 and 2014, pandemics like Sars and Ebola shook some regions of the globe, though we were left unscathed. However, the fact is Covid-19 is on our doorstep and we have all the reason to fret. Since you went back to school on June 8 as you desired, I have grown a couple of grey hairs.

You were not happy to stay at home indefinitely and you struggled to motivate yourself to study. Minister Angie Motshekga finally heeded your call and summoned you to class.

However, the corona monster is raging with so much fury and as your father, I am scared.

Despite all the information at my disposal, such as that the virus is kinder to the young, I am scared. We cannot afford to take any risks and be infected. There is still a lot that is unknown about this latest Coronavirus. Scientists are still trying to figure it out and there is a long way to go.

You have promised to make me proud and slay the matric dragon. I assured you that you had already made me proud the day you were born. That was the happiest day of my life, which I never forgot.

Another proud moment for me was when you survived the car accident that nearly killed me. You emerged unscathed and called the ambulance to take me to hospital.

You were at my side when I was wheeled into surgery and you were waiting for me a week later when I resurfaced from a coma. Even though you were only 14 years old, you nursed me when I recovered at home two months later. You skipped school to accompany me to a physiotherapist and ensured that I did all the recommended exercises at home.

You brought me a bucket to pee in every night and made me breakfast every morning before you went to school. Before you left, you always asked: “What else do you need?” Those words meant the world to me.

Passing matric will be our proud moment but surviving this pandemic will be epic. Everyday that you go to school is a nightmare for me.

I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to go to class with masks and not be able to interact and socialise with your friends and classmates like you used to. However, the bigger goal is to comply and survive.

Covid-19 has reshaped and rewired the way we live and we must all do our best to overcome it. I share the concern of every parent whose child is back at school amid this pandemic. No parent wants to bury their child and I am no exception.  Please keep using your sanitiser and maintain a social distance from your mates.

There might not be a matric dance this year, but I can assure you that there is much more to life than the farewell evening.  I will ensure you get that dress and wear it that evening. We’ll make it special and virtual. That will be something to share with my grandchildren one day.

Now, just focus on slaying the dragon while I shave off the grey strands.

Your father, Mavusana.



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