MY FATHER IS NO DIFFERENT MY FATHER
By: Siyabonga Dube
A mother’s love is important in a child’s life, but a father’s love can be just as important. A father’s role might not be considered to be equally important but in some households, fathers are all they have. The reputation of fathers is tainted by absent fathers. Absent fathers are described to be men that are not there for their children financially, physically and emotionally.
According to the Men Care and Sonke Gender Justice Network in South Africa, 40% of children live with their mothers only. The remaining 60% have a balanced family life or are part of a household headed by a single male parent.
A father’s presence in a child’s life is vital. Studies show that girls who grow up with their fathers are more likely to have a high self-esteem, engage in lower levels of risky sexual behavior and often go on to build strong and secure relationships in the future. Boys are more likely to acquire academic success, have more self-confidence and behavior control.
A father figure doesn’t have to be biological but could be a step farther, uncle or a close family friend.
Society has stereotypically rewritten the understanding of fatherhood in comparison to motherhood. The bond might be different, but love is not defined by role.
The Sisonke Justice Gender Network & Men Care has initiated campaigns like the ‘My Dad Can’ campaign to create awareness about the importance of men as fathers in society. As we have commemorative days and months for Mothers and Fathers, acknowledgement of these individuals should be equal and be done on a daily basis.