Three men from different parts of South Africa are on a bold mission to strengthen father-daughter bonding through a campaign called Dads of Daughters (DoD).
They seek to encourage other men to have close relationships with their daughters and to create a platform to support men who might not have such relationships.
Thabo Mashego (41) from Burgersfort in Limpopo, Mzwandile Nonkula (44) from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape and Mpiyakhe Khoza (37) from Qwaqwa in the Free State strive to inspire fathers to be emotionally active in the lives of their little girls.
These fathers, who all have daughters, are criss-crossing South Africa, reaching out to the public to embrace the concept.
“This is a measure to strengthen a girl child’s confidence as she grows older,” said Mashego.
“With this movement in favour of the girl child, we say: You have the right to have a father in your life so you can grow to be a confident woman who will make better choices about the types of relationships you seek to have.”
According to Khoza, they aim to create a lot of dialogue about the significance of a father-daughter relationship.
“We strive to engage men,” said Khoza.
“We have also started building community libraries to encourage reading,” he added.
To help foster the bonding, Nonkula has created a blog called So Says my Dad, which he uses to connect with fathers and share fatherhood experiences. He uses this platform to discuss parental matters at large and seek ideas to improve the spaces and environments where children are raised.
He said he was encouraged to start such a platform in 2012, upon learning that he was about to be a father for the first time.
“No girl child must rely on a man for survival, and the presence of a father in her life will help that mission,” said Nonkula.
“We are not encouraging women to disrespect men – rather to not be dependent on them, and be confident enough to choose who they want to be, as well as the kind of relationships they want.”