Moses Mandla Sangweni is by nature a fighter. Little gets him down. But when a HOPE worldwide SA (HWW SA) home visitor met the 45-year-old father of 3 daughters, he had lost his fight. More than that – he had lost hope. Today, though, he is back, and is fighting to be a good father.
It all started with a car accident that claimed the life of his wife, left his 18-year-old daughter hospitalized and put him in a coma for 5 days.
After spending over 6 months in hospital Moses was left sad, confused and distraught. “I was filled with a lot of anger and stress,” he shares. When Moses first met Bonnie (home visitor) who extensively explained about the Parent Support Groups (PSGs) Moses’s hope was revived, “I knew that was the beginning of my new life,” he confessed.
“When I started attending the PSG sessions, I started to feel myself change,” he shares. After a few sessions Moses and his family started receiving monthly groceries from HWW SA and that is how he and his daughters have been surviving.
Week in and week out Moses continued attending the PSGs, sharing his life, stress and pain with the group – at which he was the only man. With the help of the PSG sessions the 45-year-old from Kwa-Zulu-Natal, also realized that he had neglected his children because of his grief of losing his wife. “When I started attending these sessions I got to realize that I can do more as a father especially for my young children. My 3 and 5-year-old daughters had been with my mother whilst I was in hospital, whilst the 18-year-old was still in hospital as well.”
“Every session I went to made me remember my children and the importance of raising them.” It shocked Moses to realize that he had become the father he never wanted to be. An absent father. “I called my mother to help bring my children to me so I can have them home with me,” he says.
“Good things started to happen. I found myself changing my attitude, losing my anger and the stress through the sessions. Opening up and finding people to talk to made me feel better and with that I was able to work on the pain of losing my wife,” Moses says. In a country where only 40% of kids grow up with both parents, Moses saw a gap of being a father figure for children of the mothers in the PSGs. “Because I was healing I was able to connect with them, and step into a fatherly role to the children of the women attending the PSG, I treated the kids as my own,” Moses says.
Moses, who refers to himself as ‘Mabhida’ after the ‘Moses Mabhida’ soccer stadium in Durban used his love for sports to connect with the children, and in so doing found his calling to be a coach. “I didn’t know I had so much love for children,” he shares joyfully. “I asked the PSG leader to ask the parents who attended PSG sessions to bring their children so that I could pass on my coaching talent to the young kids,” he shared passionately.
“Believe me it was like magic, they came in numbers, doing different sports activities such as volleyball, karate and soccer. And they have won a number of medals and trophies since the beginning of the club in 2017. I also train the kids self-confidence and how to remain motivated,” Moses adds.
Moses graduated from the PSG programme in November of 2017 and has made a great impact in his community. He has now started a forum for men. “I would like to thank HOPE for letting me know how good it is to become a caring father to my community. I chose to become a good example, to show the men of Carto Manor (a township in KZN) which direction they should take,” he shares.
Moses facilitates a weekly ECD Men’s forum inviting all men in his community. “The programme teaches men how to take care of their families especially kids and women. I think we have a lot of work to do here. There are so many kids who are cared for by single parents and men are not there to take responsibility,” Moses shares passionately.
He is fighting to be a good father and is helping others do the same.
By Percy Matshoba