Why I Love Malala’s Dad

Oh Ziauddin Yousafzai, How do I love thee, Let me count the ways….. Okay, so I’m not really going to compose a sonnet for the man, especially one in the vein of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s classic, “How Do I Love Thee.” That said, I really do love the man. He’s completely amazing in every way.…


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Oh Ziauddin Yousafzai,

How do I love thee,

Let me count the ways…..

Okay, so I’m not really going to compose a sonnet for the man, especially one in the vein of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s classic, “How Do I Love Thee.” That said, I really do love the man. He’s completely amazing in every way.

In case you couldn’t tell by the name, Ziauddin Yousafzai is Malala’s father. Yes, that Malala. He recently made headlines by tweeting out his daughter’s GCSE exams scores. Like Holy Shit!!! Four A’s and Six A*’s?!?!?!?!?! Whatever that man is feeding Malala, I want a taste. Just one. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

Okay can we just stop for a moment and admit that this guy has to have been Nigerian in another life? Seriously, the guy tweeted out his daughter’s exam scores. Basically, homie just stunted on all the parents in the world and especially the Taliban who shot the girl. I don’t think many Nigerian parents are twitter savvy yet, but if they were, man, Twitter would be lit up for days with parents trying to outdo each other on the successes of their children. I would like to propose a motion that we make Mr. Yousafzai an honorary Nigerian for being a progressive, next-level thinker in the realm of stunting vicariously through his children.

So the reason I bring this up is because after I heard about this tweet, I posted the screencap to Facebook. One of my friends saw it and essentially asked why I was so fond of the guy. So basically here goes:

Firstly the guy’s an educator. I mean seriously, listen to his TED talk and you get the feeling that this guy is a well seasoned teacher. It shouldn’t be a surprise by now, I really respect people who choose education as a profession. Educators are some of my most favorite people on the planet. I mean that in the most enthusiastic and unironic way possible.

Right from the outset, the guy made it known that his daughters were going to be just as important as his sons. The culture in the part of Pakistan where Mr. Yousafzai is from doesn’t typically list women’s names in family genealogies. In his TED talk, he described how his cousin showed him the family tree dating back more than 300 years without mention of a single woman. So you have to imagine how big a deal it must have been for him to place his daughter’s name in the family books. Given the heights to which she has risen, nobody would argue that it was a wise choice.

Moreover, he helped her get an education and didn’t cajole or coerce her towards marriage. Which also happens to be a big deal in that part of Pakistan. In so doing, he allowed her to decide her destiny for herself.

As if naming her after a legendary Pakistani freedom fighter wasn’t enough, the girl became a freedom fighter in her own right. When she wanted to start writing about women’s rights and the need for educating young girls, Ziauddin was instrumental in helping her get the job as a blogger for the BBC. This is the job that would later bring her the fame and infamy that resulted in the nearly fatal shooting back in 2012.

Frankly, my adoration of the man doesn’t take anything away from any of Malala’s accomplishments. He might have set her on the path, but he definitely couldn’t walk that road for her. Anyone who refuses to die can make whatever journey they choose by themselves.

My point is, at every step of the way this guy has been incredibly supportive in a way that isn’t common to men in many parts of the world, not just his own. That is something that I find incredibly commendable especially given the heights to which Malala has risen. If I ever become a dad I would not mind being like him.


Dear Mr. Yousafzai, I salute you.

But wait back to the stunting for just a second. Imagine if her result wasn’t that good, would he still post it on social media? Let’s talk parenting this morning since we all belong to that generation where parenting books will probably become useless every few months due to the rapid advancement in technology. Would you tweet your kids exam results? How would you react if your dad did this to you (even if you did just as good as Malala), use the comment section to express you. 

Image via Charter for Compassion


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  2. Gabriel Shaze
    “If I ever become a dad…”
    More like “When I become a dad”

    Nope. I don’t think I would be comfortable tweeting the scores of my kids no matter how good they are. Not because I’m not proud of their scholarly achievements but I believe it puts undue pressure on children. Heck, Jidenna talked of his dad asking where the other 10 scores were if he scored a 90, and we all know some Nigerian parents like that.

    Basically, I just want my kids to have a well rounded life… and not just become academic superstars.

    PS – Oh, I’m so looking forward to having a baby girl so I can braid her hair 😀

    1. Tola Post author
      When I said I want to be more like Malala ‘ s dad, I wasn’t referring to the part about him tweeting out her scores. I was referring to everything else that I mentioned
      1. mz.D
        Gabriel was definitely answering this.. “Would you tweet your kids exam results? How would you react if your dad did this to you (even if you did just as good as Malala), use the comment section to express you. ” written by you!
        1. Tola
          Chill out. I was clarifying a point about I want to be like Malala’s dad. I wasn’t attacking Gabriel. I actually think he made a very valid point.
  3. An Afrikan Butterfly
    LOL you’re right Tola. If Nigerian parents were Twitter savvy, they would definitely be stunting on each other like Malala’s dad. My mom currently does her own by emails to like all our family and all her friends. Any good news. Results, achievements, she shares her joy with them all. Before now, I didn’t know anything about Malala’s dad. Will look him up. And yes, educators who love what they do, are really up there in my book.
    1. Tola
      The worst is when parents send out only the bad grades to relatives. And then some of them will come and scold you when they see you two years later. Imagine getting punished for shit you don’t remember doing!!! LOL. Nawa for Naija parents.
  4. Larz
    I dont believe in such shows. Yes I want my child to know I am proud of them but in everything they do not just in their academics. Plus I dont want my child to feel that they are only relevant on social media/ any media. Our society is already becoming more and more obsessed with our image with everyone trying to be a minor celebrity in their own right. I wont wanna teach that to my child by acting
    1. Tola
      The reason I like Malala’s dad has nothing to do with the fact that he tweeted out her scores. I doubt that I would ever do that to my kid. That said, it struck me as partly humorous and eerily reminiscent of the kinds of things that Nigerian parents often do. That’s the only reason I brought it up
  5. sagachristos
    Personally I don’t really see what he did as a show-off and I think we need to remember the circumstances surrounding Malala’s popularity to understand why. This is a girl that was almost murdered just because of her desire for education of the girl child. The scores are an evidence that education won and that the fight against the taliban is a worthy one. We shouldn’t just share in their pains but in their successes too. It’s an encouragement to every other girl out there who is also struggling for an education that they can make it. This isn’t Nigerian parent behaviour,it’s a shout of victory in my opinion
    1. Tola
      I know he didn’t intend for it come off like that. But you can’t deny that there will probably be some parents who will read it as such. It’s not far fetched to imagine a Nigerian parent in particular saying something like “Look at Malala. Even after getting shot, losing an eye and part of her brain, she still came out with stellar scores. My child, you can do better.”

      Yes, I agree with you that it’s a shout of victory and I don’t begrudge him one bit. I personally don’t think that I would go so far as to tweet out my children’s scores, but it’s his child and he is proud of her. That said, I still think he was low key stunting. He might not have done it for other parents but this was definitely a jab at the Taliban fighters who tried to kill his daughter.

      1. Chi
        Arrived really late to the party, but then I just discovered this site.
        Nice job, well done.
        We Nigerian parents are already doing this, FB is littered with pictures & stories of our little ones and their achievements. “First in class in Maths, English etc, best in sports.
        Am with Sagachristos on this, Malala had a painful past, it is good her successes be trumpeted to serve as an encouragement.

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