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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


Alienated Joburg father and four-year-old daughter to spend first birthday together

There were many firsts he missed because he was alienated from his daughter during the pregnancy.


This weekend will be the first birthday a father from Joburg gets to celebrate with his four year-old child.

The father cannot be named as this would identify the minor child.

There were many firsts he missed because he was alienated from his daughter during the pregnancy. He missed the birth, the first tooth, the first step, and the first word.

These days, the word “dada” gives him great happiness.

His daughter is living with her grandparents after the mother allegedly absconded.

“It’s a f***-up and so is our legal system,” he said. He said when he found out his girlfriend at the time was pregnant, he dropped everything immediately to support her and prepare for the arrival of the baby.

“But she did not stop taking drugs and things got out of hand. Just before the birth, she decided to stay with her mother because her parents said I could not control her,” the father said.

He continued to try and help his now ex-girlfriend and was worried about the unborn baby.

“Then she said I should get lost because I’m not even the father.”

She sent the father messages to “get it in his head” he was not the biological father.

“Because we were not married and the mother of the child said I wasn’t the father, I had no leg to stand on, I had no rights,” he said.

“I missed the birth and all the other firsts. It’s a crazy yo-yo experience,” he said.

“A few months after the baby’s birth, the grandparents sent my parents photos of the baby and asked if they knew they became grandparents,” he said.

“I took a knock because I felt like I was ready to be a dad and then they took it away from me.”

First, he had to go to the Children’s Court where they struggled for eight months to find the mother to do a DNA test to confirm he was indeed the father. He only found out he was the biological father in March 2020.

Next, the father was being dragged to court for maintenance. After an agreement was reached and the tests confirmed, the father started seeing his child every other weekend to get to build a relationship.

“Things have been better since the ex is out of the picture.

“I’ve also been getting along with the grandparents now,” he said.

He said what hurt him the most was when people said she looked like him, yet his ex said it was not his child.

“It’s so much more than that. Now I’m the dad I have to reopen the chapter I had to close,” he said.

He said he went through a difficult time because all the plans he made for the future revolved around his child and they fell away when he was denied access.

“The first time I called and we spoke over the phone, my fatherly instinct instantly kicked in.

“I just want to see my child,” he said. The father hopes to get shared custody of his child to help in her upbringing.

“I’m grateful I have a second chance to get to know my child,” he said.

– marizkac@citizen.co.za

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