My Father & Other Super Heroes by Nick Makoha

Every child’s dream is to enjoy the company of their parents. Their first attempt at speech is usually made in calling out mama or papa. Yet as they grow up, they sometimes, are not fortunate enough to make use of those titles with as much passion as they would. Parents are the child’s first understanding of the world. They are their super heroes in all aspects of life.

I remember a friend in my primary school who told me he had never met their father and I was struck. “How on earth!” it had never occurred to me.

As a child, grew up in the company and presence of both of my parents. Not only were they present at home, they equally present in my life.

Growing up as a child, the little boy Nick, finds himself in a situation where he has to imagine and recreate the character of his father.

Through the journey of school he has to create fictitious image character of his fear who happens to be his absentee super hero.

 The only time he ever visits, Nick makes sure he shows him off to everyone that cares to give him the attention. To him this is a big deal yet to other children, to be visited by their father at school is an ordinary act of life. Parents always visit their children at school.

As a child you can desire for so much yet it is not a guarantee that you will always get whatever you ask of.

As a child, Nick, in the absence of his father figure finds superman to fill in the void, he reimagines that his father is a character like superman but then wonders why a man like his father does not use his powers to jump over to him and get him a visit. Which super hero does not use their powers to visit their son? Throughout his childhood, he is a travelling child. Crossing over continents to go to school and to go home. Alone and lonely hence the line: lonely children don’t make it to the papers, dead ones do.

The uniqueness of this story is that the boy knows his father. He is a rich man that sends him to schools of the rich, affords him a rich lifestyle but so distant.  These questions keep coming back at the various ages; at 9, 11, 16 and 19, that is when he stops asking questions and gives up. At 21 he becomes a father to a daughter and that is when it occurs to him that he has never known how to be a father.  A journey of exploring how to be a father begins.

In this one hour poetic production, Nick Makoha stages a one man act that is representative of all the characters that have influenced his life. Dressed in a long sleeved white shirt, khaki pants and a stripped maroon necktie, the actor makes a juxtaposition of superman and his father, the heroes of his childhood. The heroes that influence him but never get to meet. In the absence of his father, the character is left with superman and Bill Cosby to look up to until he turns 21 and finds himself becoming a father.  When he thinks he has had many super heroes, his daughter adds to the list.

My Father & Other Super Heroes by Nick Makoha was one of the productions at the recently concluded Kampala International Theatre Festival, #KITF2019.  

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