MEN CARE TOO
By: Litsa Masuku
“I’ve been a man all along, but I became a real man when I became a dad to someone, I became even proud to be a man when I discovered my first born child to be a girl, because each and every day she gives me a new purpose to live for,” says Bonke Mkhwanazi, a father, businessman and also an exceptional motivational speaker.
In the 21st century most people in society are still trapped under the notion that men care less about raising kids or taking care of them in the absence of the mother. Thus there is a misconception which represents men as insensitive and lacking love for their children.
However, the opposite of this misconception is often true. Recently it has emerged that there is a budding trend of men who fight for their right to be with their children, citing they also have the need to bond with their new born babies as much as women do.
According to an article published by the Daily News on 15th July, a Cape Town man is fighting the cause of all fathers of new-borns-petitioning for 10 days’ paternity leave to be provided for them in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
“Everyone is quick to say fathers are not involved enough with their children, but with only three days’ paid family responsibility leave, they have a disadvantage from the start.
Parenting is a team effort and the new law needs to change to factor in fathers,” said Hendri Terblanche from Cape Town, a father of twins.
Moreover research reveals that in countries such as Sweden, parents are entitled to 480 days leave, with 60 days for both parents directly after the birth and the remainder to be shared as they decide. Adopting parents may also share 480 days and single parents may take the full amount.
“I also think men deserve more days to rest at home in order to bond with their new borns because even the bible says a man must have enough time to rest with his family. Personally I feel men deserve more time to spend with their babies as much as women do,” said Kingdom Mayeza, a motivational speaker from Umlazi.
Furthermore the 28-year-old said being a man himself he strongly feels fathers are discredited when it comes to parenthood, and in the near future he would like to see the mind set of society completely turning around. He reckons the mind-set of society is the focal point which could drive the government to extend paternity leave for fathers in South Africa.
A survey conducted by the Institute of Race Relations in 2011 shows that 48% of South Africa’s children grow up without their fathers. Thus against this backdrop, the rise in fathers who fight for their rights is being viewed as a significant step towards parental equality.