African men must embrace fatherhood

2012-03-17 08:44

I have recently gone through a life-altering experience. I welcomed a new being into my life.

During a conversation I had with friends, we discussed our childhoods.

I remember my childhood years quite vividly and fondly. They were among the happiest times in my existence.

As I recounted my memories to my friends, they were utterly aghast at the role my father played in my upbringing.

I was equally shocked by their response and disbelief in the reversal of gender roles.

To paint you a picture of my childhood, I grew up ekasi during the 1980s. It was a time where children played those old-school games in the streets until they turned red from dust.

A period where a mere 50c could buy all the snacks your heart desired.

Yes, in my home the roles based on gender were contrary to those held by tradition. My mother worked at the local hospital.

She owned and drove a car. My father also owned his, but he had taken an early retirement, which meant that he was home most of the time.

As an African man, I believe my father was ahead of his time.

I have memories of him getting me ready for daycare.

I recall him teaching me the Freedom Charter of 1955 and teaching me how to tell time. We would sit together having coffee – I felt so grown up.

To me he was a positive male role model. I do not know how he felt about those times, and the role he played.

Culturally, an African man who would play a pivotal role in raising a child in the manner that my father did would be viewed as an emasculated man.

Traditionally, women are the ones expected to rear the children, while the men are away from the homestead.

While the men are away, the women are the ones shaping the kind of person the child will become when they are young adults.

Raising a child is one of life’s important and challenging tasks, as that person will have a part in shaping the future. When the men are away from home, they are missing out.

On my personal journey, I will be raising a boy child. He will grow up without an emphasis on gender work division, or any gender-specific roles.

I will do this in the hope of shaping a man who will have respect for gender equality in all aspects of life.

Opposing that cultural belief, men, particularly African men, should be encouraged to play a more participatory role in raising their children and in that way, they imprint a personal stamp on the future adult.

» Yonke is an aspirant writer 

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.