Continuing Conversation with Black Fathers Stand Up ZA 2nd Edition
Growing up with a single parent is a common event in South Africa. With more than 40% of mothers raising their children alone while fathers, their counterparts, are absent in their home life; it is imperative to maintain conversation about why this is still happening. Where are the mindsets of Black fathers today? How do men view fatherhood and what should parents exemplify? These are only a couple of the many questions that will be considered in the next #BlackFathersStandUpZA conversation.
Gearing the discussion forward, the #BlackFathersStandUpZA campaign is coming up on the 22nd of July. In this second session fathers will get to “engage with professionals and be educated on the consequences of their absence in their children’s development and their legal rights as parents,” states campaign director Bantu Mtshiselwa.
As part of this month’s panel, Black Fathers Stand Up ZA invited clinical psychologist Dr Estelle De Wit who will be engaging on the consequences of an absent father in a child’s development. Speaking about our country’s collective history in our interview, Dr De Wit found that fathers are perceived as detached and “sketchy” figures. “Our country’s painful past, especially with the migrant labour issues in the Eastern Cape resulted in a situation where most fathers were marginalised and mothers had to bear the brunt of parenting,” says De Wit. “Fathers in general, in all cultures are inevitably tasked with the role of [financial] provider- some fathers are better at this than others [are]”. This narrow idea of fatherhood can make men mistakenly assume this as their only role; not considering the emotional and psychological duty a child needs from their parents.
Dr De Wit summarised the role of a father in the following life-long ideals:
PROTECTOR: Your dad is there to protect you and to keep you safe from harm- children should be equipped with the knowledge that their dad is in their corner and will protect them no matter what.
PROVIDER: Fathers are not only providers of financial means. They should also provide you with wisdom, direction, vision and character. Children learn so much from what they see and it is the duty of fathers to be mindful of this.
PROMOTER: Your father is supposed to declare over your life that they are pleased with you when they are, and also to direct you when you are going wrong.
PRIEST: Fathers are also responsible for the spiritual well-being of their children and should promote this.
Absent but living fathers can leave children feeling that their absenteeism is their fault or that they are inadequate. Having both parents in the household helps each parent give the best for the children when the children’s needs are most important to them, it helps with meeting a child’s overall needs without imbalanced responsibility stressed on one parent. Kids are very observant and as Dr De Wit shared, there is research stating that they know from early on in their lives whether their fathers are present or mostly absent. “Fathers hold their babies differently, and they sound different to their mothers,” she says.
The session will be held at the Tramways Building from 2pm until 5pm with radio personality Star Nyembezi as MC of the day and Sebenzile ‘DJ Sebs’ Zalabe facilitating the process. Joining the panel will also be family lawyer Joanne Anthony-Gooden who will educate everyone on fathers’ rights and giving legal advice; artist and human rights activist Poetic Soul Mahambehlala will share her experiences as a daughter along with her father Mr Moses Mahambehlala who will share his knowledge as a present father raising his children. Tsepiso Nzayo, a comedian and isiXhosa language activist will speak about being a young father too. The event is free of charge so please come along on this journey of learning and understanding and continue a culture of conversation about fatherhood in South Africa
Watch this video from the previous #BlackFathersStandUpZA