PARENTING IS DAUNTING. It is an experience people judge as harder than anything they have ever done before and that’s pretty easy to understand even if one is childless. Raising another human is a mammoth ‘job’ but it’s a natural, lifelong event where everyone who considers themselves a caregiver is responsible. Parents, being the most direct source of care for a child, they owe it to themselves and the kid to be there for them emotionally, physically, offer a roof over their head and showing them love. When one parent is missing from this experience it makes it really complicated for the parent who stayed, most importantly for the child.

The absent father crises is one of the largest issues in South Africa. We all know peers who were and are raised by single mothers (very lucky if the broader family assists). We know women’s cry over navigating how to provide financially for their children, being that emotional space for them as well as working hard to find and keep employment and have a social life too.

Campaign Manager, Bantu Mtshiselwa | Picture: Siphosethu Jim

Half of South African children live in single-headed households where living fathers are absent in their kids’ lives. Black Fathers Stand Up ZA is a campaign that aims to shed light on fathers who are there for their families. Campaign manager Bantu Mtshiselwa with his team organised the event to raise discussions about the problematic absence of father figures and what fatherhood means for Black men in South Africa. “This is a campaign that came through observation of our society and frustration from young fathers raising their kids…we have a high rate of fathers who are not raising their kids and not being involved in the development of their children,” expressed Mthiselwa. The event hit off at The Tramways Building on 14th of April. In the discussion panel, chaired by Mtshiselwa was Radio DJ Star Nyembezi and Umbhlobo Wenene Radio host, Sizwe ‘Slyso’ Saliso. Fathers along with their adorable kids came through expressing their opinions on matters like parenting, the joys and fears of being a parent, specifically a father and even more touchier subjects like maintenance monies and how that works.

Father and daughter | Still image from #BlackFathersStandUpZA video

This is one of many discussions to come from #BlackFathersStandUpZA. “We saw a need to speak out as young fathers against this problem also mentioning that we as Black fathers do exist… we do raise our kids and proudly so.

Check out our video on the #BlackFathersStandUpZA event in the link down below! Please watch and spread the word. Let us celebrate the parents who stay and give their best while urging those who don’t: in our peer circles, in our families as friends and partners; to step up and be responsible and show up in their families.

WATCH! #BlackFathersStandUpZA Campaign debut at Nelson Mandela Bay