Left holding the baby

Sharon Mathala
DISTRESSED: Kabelo and a baby
Dad goes it alone after baby mama disappears

Driving around the streets of Gaborone, there’s a good chance you will have come across a young man cycling around with a little girl on his back.

Left holding the baby
SHOCKING: Kabelo and baby on their way home

Towards the end of April, the mother of their four-year-old daughter up and left. Five weeks later and she has not been seen.

This week, the fed-up father, 25-year-old Kabelo Sefako narrated his story to The Voice.

Throughout the interview Sefako repeatedly points out that whilst it is hard for him as a working man, he prefers to take care of his child.

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The meeting takes place in Tlokweng near a gas station where Sefako is hard at work patching up his rusty mode of transport. Father and daughter have come to the village for the toddler’s monthly medical checkup, cycling the 17km from their home in Modipane.

Shielding his eyes against the bright winter sun, he admits that neither he nor the missing women’s family has any idea where she is.

“My daughter’s mother left me with our four-year-old child, I don’t know where she is. It has been five weeks now and she is nowhere to be found. I have looked for her all over, her family doesn’t know where she is either; in fact, they want me to account for where she is,” Sefako says, shrugging his slender shoulders in apparent defeat.

According to the doting dad, the last time he saw his live-in girlfriend was when he gave her P300 to buy groceries from the supermarket.

“I was with a few friends and her father when she left. You can ask them. I have even reported the matter to the police and they advised I care for the child as it is my own,” narrates Sefako, who works as a herdboy at a farm in Modipane.

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He does not expect his girlfriend to return.

“I have given up. I have learned to live with it now and I am just glad she did not disappear with my child, I would have been devastated. I will take care of my child!” Sefako continues, stressing that whilst he is clueless to her possible whereabouts, he does not suspect anything sinister has happened.

Asked who takes care of the child when he is at work, he explains, “I go with her wherever I go. Luckily my employer knows about my situation. I can’t leave my child with her mother’s family because they too have their own issues and struggles. I would rather struggle with my child but of course, I will admit I need help.”

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Gazing lovingly at his little girl, he concludes, “I bathe her, I feed her and wash her clothes. I take care of her just like a woman would. If she [girlfriend] does decide to come back I won’t accept her back but I won’t refuse custody of the child, we can share that responsibility but my daughter will continue staying with me!”

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