Written by Tumi Frazier
Broken people breed broken families and broken families breed broken communities that breed broken nations.
There are many programs available in the market place geared towards the empowerment of a girl child but we rarely have proactive programs that groom and prepare young men to be the best they can be in all areas of their lives. Instead we wait until it is too late and then put Band-Aid into already septic wounds, hoping the wound will heal eventually.
In order to understand factors that influence social breakdown in families, communities and ultimately the nation as a whole; one has to describe the environment in which children grow up and through which socialization occurs. It is important to acknowledge factors that influence many children and young people, from violent crimes, poverty to many other factors including values that South Africans hold.
An increase in the number of absent but living fathers is concerning. According to South African Institute of Race Relations, by 2009 – 56% of divorces with children were published, 48% proportion of children with absent, living fathers, 52% of which represents black fathers and total number of orphans 3.95 million. These numbers continue to increase.
More and more children are growing up in single parent homes without fathers. A glance at a family life of black South Africans; ‘typically” a child is raised by the mother in a single parent home. Mothers play crucial roles trying to fill the gap left by passive or absent fathers but the truth of the matter is that there is a void that requires fathers that mothers just can’t fill particularly in boys.
South Africa has unique circumstances and situation of families. This includes the history of apartheid, particularly the migrant labor system where fathers had to leave their families to work in mines and cities to only return home over Christmas.
- 9 million children grow up without fathers in South Africa,
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes;
- More than a third of the country’s prisoners are aged 18 – 25.
- Nearly 50 000 school girls became pregnant in 2007 a 151% increase since 2003.
- Nearly a third of 12 – 14 year olds said they had easy access to marijuana and 8% had easy access to crack cocaine.
Research has shown that absence of fathers when children grow up was one of variety of factors associated with poor educational outcomes, antisocial behavior and disrupted employment later in life.
The father’s presence has a direct and indirect influence on major decisions regarding health, well being, academic achievement, self confidence in girls as well as adjustment and behavior control among boys.