"Men in South Africa get no real support": A dad's story about his life as a single parent, fighting for his kids

"I try my best to give my kids what I can, I would do anything for them..."
"I try my best to give my kids what I can, I would do anything for them..."

We recently published the stories of a few single moms doing the best they can for their family. Parenting isn't easy, so nothing can prepare you for the challenge of going it alone.

One dad wrote in  to share his experience as a single dad with the added obstacle of having to fight for his children. Read his story below. And don't forget to share your stories and experiences with us at Parent24... we may publish your letter!

Also read: "I am a 47-year-old divorced mom of two boys and a rescue puppy – this is what a "normal day" looks like for me"

"The story of this single mom is awesome, and well done to her, however I feel that there is sometimes a story from a father's perspective that needs to be understood. 

I am a divorced father of five children of three strangely odd relationships, which went in directions I could have never predicted. All I want is a family, and I will keep trying. In my case, I included have flaws and I agree that I have had them, and two of my exes and I have come to terms with our mistakes and mishaps and have grown significantly. 

Through it all I keep an awesome relationship with two of the moms, and my kids are with me as much as I can have them. I have a full-time job during the day, I do odd jobs at night and study all at the same time so that I can maintain my home, support my kids and one day give my kids a whole lot more and make it more comfortable. 

Yes I do all the related chores when they are here with me: cooking, cleaning washing clothes, entertaining... Basically everything. Okay, it's only weekends, but it was not my choice. If I could have had it my way, they would live with me and and go to daycare or my parents until I got home from work.

I liked the writer's statement about being the bad guy. I am always the bad guy, I am always called upon to discipline and when I don't I am not a father... My kids are well behaved with me, so don't you think it's strange that I should make a call to inflict fear into them?

Over the years I have had to drive myself into an excessive amount of debt and use up any and all the savings I have had, not only for myself but for my family at the time to progress or deal with whatever came with that, and that debt stays with me or I have had to decide to end things. 

With all that and the emotional effect, I have always done my best to keep it together for the kids. Yes, it is nowhere close to easy going through this on your own, yes now I am single by choice, because I need to educate myself for my kids, tough decisions have to be made.

My family and friends have been a huge support through this and for that I am very appreciative. 

I try my best to give my kids what I can, I would do anything for them and we have an awesome relationship.

The kids and moms can call on me for anything and I would make every effort to fulfill that request, and that will not change. They know it as 'I will make a plan'.

Unfortunately we live in a society that thinks all men do nothing for their kids. Kid number 5 is yet to be found, once again, for how many times I cannot say. Our justice system, our social services system and their employees are a biased and corrupt set of individuals who will not assist a man in a situation such as mine (without revealing any info that can impact the legal aspect of what I need to do). Men in South Africa get no real support and we have to fight like it's a war out there. 

However, I'm that dad, the one who will make the effort for his child, and if I cannot get support from the entities who were supposed to help, I'm gonna get it done either way, and it will be legal, yeah I'll sort the costs of this out somehow again. 

The take-home from this is, in my journey trying to get as much info and help on what I must do, or who will help with what is going on, I have found so many dads trying to get to their kids, wanting to support the kids, trying to be part of their lives – however the legal system seems to be gender biased and are hungry to support highly feminist mindsets. 

Also read: Local dad shares what it's like being denied access to his daughter

If you have not lived what he has you cannot judge him and the system should be unbiased, open and investigate all claims the same. Social workers, family advocates, mediators alike should never be biased regarding gender and should also know and understand the full and complete process from end to end.

I hated seeing dads cry because there was nothing more they could do; one of the reasons was the advice received stopped at each entity's willingness to help or the actual knowledge of the process was not known. Their kids will live to believe their dads did nothing, and I aim to change this mentality. 

Once I'm done studying this first degree, which is related to my field of work and skills, on a personal level and in my spare time, I am going for a law degree as my passion is to stand up for all these men that really have something real to say about situations that are being neglected, and their claims rejected. 

I would hate to see another child hurt by a mother or partner who can't handle taking care of a kid, or even put these children in living conditions that are far from being ethical, sanitary or livable, when there are a few of us who would do it without blinking.

But such a person must firstly deal with a lot of untruths, barriers and so-called road blocks, which in most cases get taken as being the 'truth', such a person must deal with the unfair conduct and lack of support from biased, unskilled individuals working in positions of community care. 

Also read: Are joint custody and shared parenting a child’s right?

That aside, those single parents out there are awesome, women and men alike, however I would like to promote cooperative parenting for those who really can't live together, and the system should make every effort to enforce this. 

From a man who has worked hard from the day he left school and still does so for his kids, I am saying the mindset out there must change as there are two sides to every situation. You may just be shocked if you hear his side. In my experience men are never taken seriously, wait till you get laughed at for merely implying you too have been a victim of something. 

And that's just it, we live in an unequal, so-called equalised society."

Chat back:

Are you a single parent? Are you struggling to see your kids? Tell us your story and we may publish it.

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