Blood couldn't make us any closer'

Your Family|June 2020

Blood couldn't make us any closer'
THE TITLE OF ‘DAD’ DOESN’T ONLY BELONG TO SOMEONE YOU SHARE DNA WITH. THESE MEN HAVE FILLED THE FATHER FIGURE ROLE AND RAISED THEIR CHILDREN AS THEIR OWN
NOLWAZI DHLAMINI

Andile ‘Dj Andy X’ Xolo and his wife, Lebogang, have been married for 10 years. They have two kids together: Andy’s step-daughter Palesa, 15, and their son, Oluthando, 8.

‘Andy and I met in Swaziland at a New Year’s Eve Party. I went on a road trip with my best friend and her husband and we were coming from Joburg, while Andy travelled from Durban. We were in a long-distance relationship for some months before he decided he wanted to be close to me, so he moved to Joburg, and within a year he’d proposed. He asked my daughter Palesa if he could marry me. She held the ring while he proposed on bended knee,’ Lebogang explains.

This is Lebogang’s second marriage, and after a traumatic divorce, counts meeting Andy as a gift from God. ‘My previous marriage lasted only a year, but I’m grateful for the experience, because it left me with my most wonderful blessing, my daughter.’

For a long while after her divorce, Lebogang didn’t feel comfortable introducing anyone to Palesa until she was certain he’d be in for the long haul. ‘I knew when the time was right to introduce them. He came from Durban to meet her; the three of us went on a date and he flew back home. She was four years old at the time. How they interacted was extremely important to me because I trust my daughter’s judgement, and kids are generally very intuitive. If feel if they hadn’t clicked, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Luckily they hit it off and that gave me some peace of mind.’

Naturally, Palesa fought for her mom’s attention in the beginning, and the couple had to reassure her that she’s the most important person in both their lives. Andile also had to adjust to being a step-dad, while trying not to overwhelm Palesa. ‘Lebogang and I had to be clear on how to handle things. We never disagreed in front of her and we made a pact that all our kids would be raised the same way. So even when I went to my wife about issues, she’s say: “Do as you see fit, you’re also a parent”. Palesa taught me how to be a father, because suddenly I had a firstborn who I had to help shape into a responsible human being. That was and still is a wonderful experience for me,’ Andile recalls. ‘Then one day, she called me Papa Andy, and that stuck. That gave us comfort that everything would work out just fine.’

From then on, the family blended seamlessly and have shared an unbreakable bond. ‘It might sound like a fairy tale, but we somehow just fit like a puzzle. I think what made things easy is how Lebogang and I were both raised. We both knew the importance of speaking in one voice, having goals, and encouraging one another. We both wanted a loving and safe home for our kids to be proud of. We live for our kids and we see the appreciation in their eyes every day.’

In 2012, the couple welcomed a new addition to the family, their son Oluthando. ‘I love being a DJ and connecting with people through music; but my greatest achievement is being a father. While cheers and praises from the crowds on dance floors send my heart racing, it’s really the good night hugs and kisses that I look forward to the most. Kids love you unconditionally; you may have some faults as we’re all human, but in their eyes you’re perfect,’ says Andile.

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June 2020