For some children to be brought up without a father figure can be traumatic, can lead to some form of identity deficiency, lack of direction, but not for Skeem Saam's actress, Innocent Sadiki, and her twin sister, Millicent Mashile.
By all narratives, the two are in the league of South Africa’s twin sisters of note. They were bred by grandparents following the death of their mother when they were only 4 years old, while their father was in jail, at Zonderwater Maximum Security Prison in Pretoria.
It was their grandparents who taught them the values of life 'ubuntu' and despite all the odds, today they are proud women, full of love, respect, and dignity. Their grandmother never wanted to talk about their father, and whenever they try to raise the issue, she would change the subject.
Apparently, when their father got out of prison, he did not come to them, probably out of shame, he went to stay somewhere, but still they didn’t hold a grudge on him. As if to confirm their uniqueness of character despite being in their teens, they decided to search for him until they get to where he was staying.
Some people would say the pain of parting ways is nothing to the emotional joy of re-union. But for their father that was not so, instead of hugging them with emotional tears of love, he chose to ignore them while they were at his gate knocking. He remained behind his locked gate, while watching them on his 'closed circuit television' installed at his house. They had to jump in, and unlike other children, instead of confronting him for having had left, them and for not opening the gate for them, they showed him unconditional love.
Innocent narrates: “Even though we did not know our father, we loved him. We went to his house and stood outside the locked gate. There were surveillance cameras everywhere and even though he saw us, he did not open for us. We jumped the gate and kept on knocking at the door until he opened. When we got inside, we told him that we loved him and forgive him.”
For Innocent, who could not be drawn to reveal why her father was in jail, what matters most is forgiveness and love.
And for the two twin sisters, the story did not end by meeting and re-uniting with their father, they have since started an awareness drive encouraging fathers, especially those in prison, to build relationships with their children.
“We decided to speak up on the issue when we were once invited to Zonderwater to talk about transformation of the mind and the power of forgiveness,” she tells Move!
The twin sisters highlighted the pain and challenges associated with growing up with without a father, despite the fact that the absence of theirs did not affect them much, Innocent still believes it is good to motivate other fathers to build relationships with their children.
She is reminded of how much she missed out in as much as ‘the fatherly love' is concerned when she sees how happy her own daughter is when playing with her father. But the two sisters, never let the lack of a father figure in their early years, to ruin their lives, or to determine their fate. Now that they are grown up women, they have since taken it as a lesson and teach others from their own life experiences and understanding.
Meanwhile, Innocent says only one person from her father's side once tried to reach out to them by sending text messages, but the twin sisters could not take it up, as they did not know his motives. Hopes are still that their relatives will reach out if they are serious about re-uniting.
Their childhood was not bad after all as they had each other's shoulder to lean on, share experiences, and they count being twins as a divine blessing. The sisters are determined to leave a mark, a legacy of love and forgiveness, when Innocent is not shooting Skeem Saam, they spent most of their time in charity work.