In the first episode of “Zooming with the Zuma’s” Duduzane Zuma took us on the journey of the day his mother died. Duduzane sat on a video call with his father for the first time ever and they had quite a long conversation about an array of topics.
The first initial conversation sparked so many complex dynamics regarding fatherhood.
Step-by-step, he walked us through him finding out his mother has died. From being called into the room, to see her being moved to a stretcher and being declared dead. He even held the suicide note in his hands. It was taken from him and later leaked. This has been quite the controversy on its own. I digress.
Firstly, Duduzane shared that “I just wanted to convey that experience with you which I have never conveyed to you and my experience with that situation and how it has unfolded from then till now”.
He continues to say “we cool, we are in a good place”.
Are they, really?
Duduzane was 16 when his mother Kate Zuma committed suicide in 2000. He was called to the room in which she took her life, and he saw his mother’s lifeless body and even held the suicide note.
I was 14 years old when I lost my absent-present father. 2 years later my mother followed. When I say the loss of a parent, particularly your mother, changes the course of your life forever, I know what I am talking about. You will never experience that kind of sorrow you feel when a mother that loved and cared for you passes.
There is nothing quite like floating around this earth without a source. It gets you completely out of track. The sense of loss you experience makes you feel like your life makes no sense, and has zero direction.
The person you existed inside of for 9 months, lived and depended solely on for 16 years of your life is no longer there.
And it took Duduzane 20 years to finally open up to his father about that loss.
Does this mean that the nature of their relationship did not allow him to open up about that? Yes, his father is a very busy man. But there is no way they never conversed about anything in 20 years.
Were his trauma, pain, and grieving journey just not part of the list?
The image and role of fathers need to be relooked in our communities. We cannot have black men walking around with burdens like this. Men are meant to help their sons navigate some of life’s challenges.
As a man, was your first point of reference when you were in a time of needing your father?
If not, why not?
Yes, the role of a man is to be strong for his family, but allowing your children to break down and cry is the epitome of strength.
Maybe we need to stop telling our sons that they are weak when they are trying to show their emotions and cry for help. Someone needs to allow them to deal with their pain so that they can teach their children the same.