Reviews & Profiles
I have 44 children
Posted Monday, March 4 2013 at 02:00
When someone says they have 44 children, it usually suggests that they are few adopted children too. But for Steven Senfuma, the statement is just as it is- all 44 are his biological children.
Traditionally, African men believed that giving birth to many children was a blessing. Other than having them for labour and security, each child came with his/her own blessing, which was relevant to the family and clan as a whole. This attitude is slowly changing, with big families giving way to small and manageable ones.
Not all people have responded to them though. One such man is Ssalongo Steven Senfuma, of Ntinda Zone Village, Mukono. At 57-years-old, he has fathered 44 children within 30 years from various women. His idea of having many children was influenced by the situation surrounding him while he was growing up. “My father had one wife who gave birth to 14 children. I was the seventh.
Unfortunately, the first six passed on but I survived. The one who follows me also later passed on. Most of them died after the age of 20. We remained six,” Ssalongo Senfuma says. He says, if his parents had stopped on the sixth child, they would have missed giving birth to a very relevant person in society like him.
“I am a retired teacher. I worked as a security officer and as a marketing officer in various companies. I am a church choirmaster at St. Luke Church here, a PTA chairman in various schools, clan secretary for the Mamba Clan plus other responsibilities under Buganda Kingdom, MC for introductions and weddings and LC I chairman for this village for the last 20 years. If my parents did not give birth to me, this country would have missed my services,” he says.
He has four official partners in established homes besides others who have given birth to his children. He, however, is not comfortable to divulge how many women they are in total. And he points out that he chose them basing on their ability to help raise a child before he sired children with her.
Out of the 44 children, he has educated most up to higher institutions of learning with only nine still studying. The youngest is now in Primary Four, and three are currently studying for a Law degree at Makerere University. Much as he has fathered this number of children, Senfuma is against people having multiple partners. With the current level at which HIV/Aids is spreading, he says, people need to take care by not going around with everyone they find.
“I was lucky that I had many women but I escaped the virus because in most cases, I did not even test them. I don’t support men in getting many women, neither do I support men giving birth to few children. I support family planning through spacing but not by stopping the woman when she can still give birth to other children. That is against God’s plan for mankind. A man should get only one woman who can give her all the children he wants other than getting so many women,” he says.
Looking after them
He maintains his family with support from the relatives and earnings from assets like his 20 acres of land and 97 rentals in Mukono. Apart from passing on before witnessing all his children study and finish their studies, he says has no worries about the way the children are being raised because the mothers themselves are upright people and responsible enough to look after them.
He advises that parents should prepare their children to work and survive on their own other than working for them. He explains that when a parent works for the child, it makes him or her lazy to do the work, which he blames for today’s rampant unemployment and crime.
“All the success I have got is through the good relationship I have established with people. I am always trustworthy, honest, loyal and good to people I encounter. Because of that, I have received the same favour from these people. I have a very big family as I speak now to the extent that I can never fail in any situation because everywhere I turn, I have someone to look up to for assistance right from our own family to friends and other important people I have met throughout my life,” he concludes.