I became my girls’ Dad and Mom when one was four years, the other three months old

Samuel Kasaana with one of his two daughters, Sharon Kisakye, 19, who he started to raise alone when she was three months old after their mother walked out on them. PHOTO BY carol nambowa.

What you need to know:

When his wife walked out on him in 1995, one man chose to stick it out with his two daughters, one four years, and the other three months, old. Carol Nambowa spoke to this father who has mothered his children, alone.

On May 4, 2013, Samuel Kasaana, turned 48 years, which he celebrated with his two daughters; Sarah Kasana, 22, and Sharon Kisakye, 19. Despite the immense wealth that Kasaana has amassed over the years, he considers his two girls his greatest treasure in life.

In which areas do you feel you did tremendously well?
It was by God’s grace that my daughters were healthy and did not get so sick and the other is that I loved my children and showed them a lot of love.

How can you describe the experience of single handedly raising your daughters?
Girls are difficult to raise because you have to listen to them and also give them a chance to talk to you. At first, I was tough on them until I realised that I had to forget for a while that I was their father and get transformed into their friend to gain their trust, so, that they could confide in me at all times. So many people out there told me I could not raise my girls so I had to have patience to endure the hard times we went through. I also realised that for me to stay in good terms with Sarah and Sharon, I could not bring another woman home to take care of them, for I would then lose their trust.

What impact have the years of mothering your daughters had on your life?
As a mother, I was the first doctor at home, I had to know their feeding patterns and know what amount of food was enough for each one. I learnt to be careful in whatever I did and know that they are very attentive to what I did to the extent that they can mimic my way of talking and walking. I had to be very careful how I laughed and how I behaved because it they are a photocopy of me. I was transformed into a responsible person because I had to watch my mannerisms around them and had to be there for them at all times.

What fatherly traits did you have to drop in order to be a better mother to them?
As I mentioned before, I had to become a friend to my girls to gain their trust. In addition to that, I had to drop the tough fatherly acts and play dodge ball with them, crack jokes with them, have quality time with them as well as giving them a chance to talk to me about anything. As a father, I was busy and barely gave any attention to my children but as a mother, my personality changed and I started to care and give my daughters more attention.

What are some of the feminine mannerisms you have taught your children?
I have taught them that they can survive on their own and make their own money. I brought them up to be strongwilled and that with or without a man, a woman can still make it in life just like a man. I have told my daughters that women are wiser and better at multitasking than men are. I taught them that although they are educated, they should know the value of respecting others.

What are some of the ground home rules you put in place for the children to follow?
I never let them go anywhere alone whether it is to a friend’s home or to the well since so many children get problems that stem from friends or relatives. I had to teach and train them to dress decently. They must be awake by 5am. I taught them how to pray and love the Lord and I am an example to them.

How did you balance your work with mothering your daughters?
At the time their mother left us, I worked at a dry cleaning shop and my boss was pleased with my respect for her and she knew that I had to raise my daughters so she let me work whenever I could. I worked there until Sarah was 11 and Sharon eight. From then on, I became my own boss, so I could determine what time to be home and when to work.

What are you most thankful for?
I am grateful to God for the fact that they didn’t love to roam and party. I am also thankful that we communicate well, trust one another and that they want to make me happy. We don’t really argue because we have an understanding. I have never had to beat my children; they do things as I want them to do.

Which people have helped you along the way?
My mother and aunt really helped me out with the then three-months-old Sharon, until she was six months.

Which was your most challenging moment while raising them?
It was when their mother left me. People assured me that since she had left a three months old baby, she would definitely return. Those months of waiting and hoping falsely were the most painful for she did not return.

What did you tell your children about their mother?
They grew up knowing that she left them but I did not tell them much about her because I didn’t want to sow anger in their hearts.

What has been your best moment as you raised them?
My heart is filled with joy when I see them grown up. It is when my daughters teach me about new things and advise me about my dress code and to repaint the house that I smile and realise that they are not little girls anymore.

What is your message to fathers who are mothering their children?
Although it is challenging, a man does not have to think he cannot raise his children by himself. Instead of thinking of your relatives keep in mind that no one can raise your children better than you.