Men advised to be ‘present fathers’

2017-06-28 06:01
At the breakfast (from left) Stephen Lungu, Myan Subrayan (author of Buckley’s biography ‘Delron Buckley – My Life’), Delron Buckley and Erna Rheeder.PHOTO: Makhosandile zulu

At the breakfast (from left) Stephen Lungu, Myan Subrayan (author of Buckley’s biography ‘Delron Buckley – My Life’), Delron Buckley and Erna Rheeder.PHOTO: Makhosandile zulu

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FORMER Bafana Bafana and international soccer player Delron Buckley was named ambassador for Father’s Network, a family and parenting division of Suid-Afrikaanse Vrouefederasie (SAVF) Famnet, at a network breakfast and panel discussion at Africa Enterprise last Thursday.

Speaking at the breakfast, co-ordinator for SAVF Famnet, Erna Rheeder, said playing a role in developing the White Paper for Families in South Africa opened her eyes to the crisis of absent fathers in families throughout the country.

“Sixty-five percent of children grow up without fathers, that is an estimate of 12 million out of 18 million children in South Africa, and that is why SAVF started a media campaign to raise awareness on this issue and encourage men to be active parents, who are a part of their children’s lives.”

She said according to research, children who grow up without their father might end up suffering with depression and show anger, which may lead them to violent and criminal activity, engaging in unsafe sexual acts that could result in teenage pregnancy and end up being substance abusers or live in poverty.

Rheeder said another factor that contributes to absent fathers is that some men have more than one family requiring their financial support bringing about a situation where one family is neglected.

“I want to ask the good men, we know they are many good men out there, to stand up and speak out, speak for what is good, and for our children and families so we can build healthy communities,” she said.

Speaking about growing up without a father and the consequences thereof, Buckley, who grew up without a father, said at some point in his career he fell into a deep depression and contemplated suicide, but the thought of his then two-year-old daughter growing up like him, without a father, helped him pull through.

Myan Subrayan led the panel discussion at the event.

Another panellist, a former street child without parents, Stephen­ Lungu, said growing up without parents, especially a father, made it difficult for him to shape his identity, which led him to becoming part of a gang and which filled him with hatred towards his parents.

Buckley said another challenge was that he had no one he could look to for direction and guidance, except his grandfather and uncles who were present in his early childhood.

“There is a need for positive male role models whether they are uncles, grandfathers or men in our communities, a mentorship relationship is key,” Rheeder said.

Buckley said his message to young people would be that growing­ up without a father should not be an excuse for them to give up.

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