Are you this man’s father? - Daily Nation

Are you this man’s father?

Wednesday May 2 2012

A picture of Thobias, at a few months old, in the arms of the man who he says is his father. FAMILY ALBUM PHOTO
A picture of Thobias, at a few months old, in the arms of the man who he says is his father. FAMILY ALBUM PHOTO
Thobias is looking for his father, Patrick Ndirangu, in the other photo, holding him when he was a few months old. FAMILY ALBUM Photo
Thobias is looking for his father, Patrick Ndirangu, in the other photo, holding him when he was a few months old. FAMILY ALBUM Photo
By THOBIAS SKOVGAARD [email protected]

My name is Thobias Skovgaard. My second name comes from my mother’s side of the family. I am 20 years old and was born in Denmark.

My mother, who raised me, is Danish, while my father is Kenyan. Unfortunately, the last time I saw my father was about 10 years ago, and even then, during that period I met him just a few times, so I never really knew him.

For the past couple of months, I have had a desire to meet him again. However, it is only now that I have gathered the courage to look for him, to find out where he is and whether he still remembers me, whether he ever thinks about me.

My mother, Maria Popova Skovgaard, met my father, Patrick Ndirangu, in London back in 1990.

My mother, then in college, was on a field trip with her class. She met my father in one of London’s many nightclubs.

She tells me that they were instantly attracted to each other. They exchanged contacts and agreed to meet again.

That same year, Mum, then about 19 years old, travelled back to London to meet my father and lived with him for a while.

She was madly in love with him and even contemplated dropping out of college to be with him. He then lived on his own in Wembley.

According to my mother, my father was a mechanic who worked in the motor vehicle industry and was a passionate cyclist — he cycled a lot in his spare time.

Two years later, in 1992, Mum gave birth to me. We lived together as a family for a year, and Mum says that she was happy.

The following year however, they fell out over another woman and angry, Mum decided to go back to Denmark with me, swearing never to see my father again.

However, he kept in contact and constantly wrote letters. He even tried to get Mum to move to Kenya with him so that she could meet his family.

She tells me that my father comes from a large family — he has seven siblings and according to Mum, one of them possibly lives in Holland.

My grandfather, she told me, worked for the US Air Force as an engineer, while my grandmother was a housewife. This is the only information that I have about my family in Kenya.

Anyway, Mum finally gave in to my father’s pleas and allowed him to visit us in Denmark, even though she turned down his request to settle in Kenya.

She explained to me that she wanted me to grow up and study in Denmark. He visited for a week, then left for London, never to return.

I keep telling myself that it might have been difficult for a black man in Denmark in the nineties, that maybe that is why he left.

I say this because where we lived, he was the only black man in the area, unlike London, which was more cosmopolitan, making it a friendlier place to live.

There were also more work opportunities in London. My mother tells me that these were some of the reasons he felt uncomfortable living in Denmark.

He called us a couple of times over the years, but when I turned 10, he stopped writing or calling. As I write this, I have no idea where he is or how to find him.

I am writing this in the hope that he, or someone who knows him or his whereabouts, will get in touch with me.

Going by the information I have, my father’s full names are Patrick Michael Ndirangu. He is around 43 years now. I do not know whether he is married or not or whether he has another family. I have a few pictures of him, including one where he is holding me when I was much younger.


You might be wondering why I want to find him after all these years.

I believe that every child has a right to know his father, especially when that child is male.

Drawing from my experience, I know that the last thing I would want is for my children to grow up without a father.

Growing up, I did wonder how differently my life would have been had I grown up with a father, but I told myself that there must have been a purpose for how my life turned out.

However, when I sometimes argued with my mother, as parents and children sometimes do, I would tell her that had I known where my father was, I would have gone to live with him.

This was insensitive, said in a fit of anger, and I would regret saying it because my mother is the best parent any child would be proud to have.

I admire her a lot, and she raised me well. She never got married and, on her own, raised me to be the man I am today.

For this, I am indebted to her for the rest of my life. She has no objection about my looking for my father.

She, too, believes that I should get to know him and hopes that my search will be successful.

I am curious to meet my father, to see whether I resemble him or whether I am like him in any way.

I am also curious to know whether I will experience some other aspects of life that I might have missed by not having him around.

Of course, I am a bit scared of the outcome, but my determination to find him overrides this fear.

If he is reading this, I want Patrick to know that I completed college last year. I graduated from one of the best sports colleges in Denmark.

I live in Norway now, where I moved last year to play football, a game that I am passionate about and which I have played since I could kick a ball. Football is my life. I play for a Norwegian club called Bodo Glimt.

I am on loan from FC Copenhagen, who I have played for since 2008.

Besides football, I enjoy spending time with friends, reading history, especially war stories, which I find fascinating.

I also enjoy being outdoors. I can also cook and know how to make quite a number of dishes. Even though I do not have a favourite food, I prefer the classic rice and chicken.

I have considered the possibility that he may not want to meet me or want anything to do with me, and I have made peace with that.

Yes, I will be disappointed if he does not contact me, but then again, I will have lost nothing by giving it a shot.