Father Absence

Father absence

Father absence is a huge problem in South Africa. The proportion of South African children with absent fathers increased between 1996 and 2010 from 42% to 47%. This means almost half of all South African children are growing up without their fathers, generic though their fathers are alive.

Black children are the most affected by this trend, unhealthy at 51%. While only 17% of white children have absent fathers, this figure represents an increase of 32% since 1996, and it is the largest increase in all racial groups. The number of Indian children with living but absent fathers decreased from 19% in 1996 to 13% in 2010

This issue is often underpinned by men’s failure to exercise the values of responsibility, selflessness, integrity and love with regard to their children.Given the fact that these and other social problems correlate more strongly with father absence than with any other factor, surpassing race, social class and poverty, father absence may well be the most critical social issue of our time

Our Preliminary Plan
Our aim is to develop an intervention over the next 3-5 years that encourages men to be better fathers to their own children as well as to be father figures to children who have absent fathers. We will commission research to help us understand the causes of father absence and the obstacles that stand in the way of better fathering with a focus on the African context, as well as a literature review on successful interventions locally and globally.

We will then commission a 6-8 part TV miniseries that will attract both international finance and an international audience (either American or European). While father absence is our key theme, we would most probably set the story against the backdrop of rhino poaching and/or child trafficking in order to attract international funding. Given the fact that children are more likely to be sexually exploited if there is no present father figure, there is an intersection with human trafficking.

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