Men care for kids


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 talker.

In the 21st century we are living in, 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 on a contradictory note the opposite of this misconception is true, recently it has emerged that there is budding trend of men who combat for their rights of being 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, says 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 born, because even the bible says a man must have enough time to rest with his family, and personally I feel men deserve more time to spend with their babies as much as women do”, says Kingdom Mayeza a motivational speaker who hails 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 maternity 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.

Fired up 2014-08-13 12:32:18 PM
What is parental equality first of all and why should it be strived for. The differences in child rearing capabilities insofar as meeting the needs of the child are biological, nothing to do with the 21st century. Of course in the absence of a mother figure some fathers are capable of stepping into and fulfilling that role and should. However the notion that Fathers must equally 'bond' with their newborn is a fallacy. Its certainly not required or noticed by a newborn whose only 'concern' is having their primary needs met by a nurturer. It seems this has become another one of those 'jump on the bandwagon' issues that attempts to secure maternity rights for the Father for no other reason than to elicit benefits. 21st century insanity maybe. Rather concentrate on 'being available' in the child's formative years and especially adolescence.
Phoenix Mzansi 2014-08-13 12:55:37 PM
I started taking care of my son when he was born. I changed nappies, bathed and prepare his formula. When his mom left me and my then 4 year old things were not easy but i persevered and today he is 14 years old. his mom is trying to reconnect with him but he finds that difficult to do. Today i have a two year old and i am taking care of him the same way I did with his older brother and the bond i have with my two boys is unshakeable and whenever i feel depressed I just look at them and know everything will be allright..