Social fathers: Male family members step into dad role

The absence of a father in South African households is quick turning into a norm as extra male family members tackle the role of ‘social fathers’.

A examine, State of South Africa’s Fathers (SOSAF) 2021, revealed that a minimum of 41% of kids co-reside with males who aren’t their organic fathers. However, 61% of males reported residing in the identical family as a minimum of one little one when interviewed throughout COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.

Social fathers are father-figures in a baby’s life that aren’t biologically associated to the kid. However, these fathers have determined to tackle the duty and role of the daddy. They are bodily, financially and emotionally engaged within the lifetime of the kid. Social fathers are normally males who’ve been employed and are older brothers, uncles, grandfather and even the mom’s companion.

Used to father not being round

Phaswana Asakundwi Emmanuel is a younger man who has by no means met his father. His mom spent years attempting to guard her son from the reality about his dad.

“My mother used to tell me that my father is working in Gauteng. Maybe she was just trying [to] protect his name or my fragile heart at that time. Fortunately enough, I believed her, because most of my friends’ fathers were also working so it made sense,” mentioned Emmanuael.

“The only time it didn’t make sense was when all their father returned at the end of the year for Christmas, but not mine. I asked my mother if he’d ever come back during December,” he added.

Moment of reality

On his 14th birthday, Emmanuel lastly had the braveness to ask his mom whether or not his father was nonetheless alive. His mom lastly opened up and instructed him that his father had one other family – a brand new spouse and kids.

“That evening my mother took my hand. It was pretty warm outside and we were sitting under a tree. She said to me: ‘Your father is still alive and well and doesn’t stay far from here. It is just a couple of hours. I will even accompany you to his house where he lives with his wife and children, but I will certainly not enter’,” defined Emmanuel.

Emmanuel learnt a helpful lesson that day after his mom confessed. He realised that his father doesn’t need to be blood family, however reasonably somebody who’s there for him when wanted most.

‘Raised by many fathers’

“I told my mother that there was no need to take me to him, I have a father. Actually, I have more than one father. The postman that brings the letters every once a week, the bus driver that takes me to school every day, our neighbour, Mr Mudau, who always needs my help loading his airtime voucher, the security guard at our local supermarket,” mentioned Emmanuel.

“They have been there for me when I needed them the most. They showed me what being a father is and I can proudly say that I was raised by many fathers except for my own,” he concluded.

Two ‘types’ of social fathers

The SOSAF 2021 survey indicated that over three quarters (78%) of the fathers surveyed, believed that if a baby was conceived outdoors of wedlock, each the mom and father had equal rights to the kid. In distinction, just one in 5 fathers (17%),believed {that a} little one born outdoors of wedlock belonged to the mom or her family.

The SOSAF 2021 survey additionally confirmed that extra males consider that offering care makes a person a father, reasonably than making a girl pregnant. The creator of the report acknowledged that whereas the literature on males as social fathers internationally focuses on stepfatherhood and blended households, there was little consideration on males who’re social fathers via kinship norms the place there’s an obligation to supply help to kin, particularly kids. – Health-e News 

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