The Best Dads Movement is hosting public dialogues across the city to help young fathers be more responsible and involved in their children’s lives and to support those fathers who do play an active role.
The dialogues aim to get the views of fathers to find solutions to the problem of absent and irresponsible fathers, especially in the black community.
The movement was established by a handful of young men, led by a young woman, Sinazo Peter who lost her father because he could not cope with the role of being a father and a mother to her and her siblings.
They converged at the Barn at Look Out Hill in Khayelitsha, on Saturday February 25, to discuss what it means to be a good father.
The discussion focused on fathers’ behaviour, including why they disappeared, and how their problems could be resolved.
Issues identified ranged from disparities in the education system, the old system of migrant labour that took fathers away from their families, poverty and the burden of culture carried by men.
Members of the community who attended the event said they had had enough of men who failed to take responsibility for their children.
Everyone agreed that difficult as it may be, fathers needed to strive to be the best parents they could be to their children.
The main speaker of the day was Gugulethu basketball player Vincent Ntunja who advised the young fathers to empower themselves through education and be streetwise at the same time.
“Knowledge is power. Do not be misled by friends and other societal challenges. There is more around you, meditate and pray before going out of the house. Also read and equip yourself – that would make you not only a better father but a leader too,” he said.
Mr Ntunja said he was lucky to be raised on Christian values. He said there should be a focus on improving communities.
Another speaker, Sibusiso Nyamakazi urged young fathers to be the best that they can be as their children’s future depended on them.
He pleaded with the fathers to invest more love in their children and ensure that they are always available for them. “I do not underestimate fatherhood. Being a father is one amazing thing. It is a full time job. Let us refrain from seeing our children once a week, on weekends,” he said.
He suggested that fathers get themselves mentors. “If you are a man you should be able to raise your own children without the mother being there. You do not have to take your children to the social workers or social development. Play a fatherly role especially with the girl child. Be more pro-active,” he said.
Ms Peter and co-founder of the Best Dads Movement, Nhlanhla Ntumba said they were excited to have started with the dialogues.
They said the movement was establishment after they realised there was an absence of fathers in different societies, especially in black communities.
“In our experience, men have different valid and invalid reasons not to raise their children the way every child deserves to be raised. The purpose of this platform is to support responsible fathers who support their children. The absence of a father in a child’s life usually shapes how a child turns out in future and the development of their personalities,” said Ms Peter.
She stressed that the role of fathers is more than just contributing money. “Children need them emotionally, physically as teachers and protectors. After the passing of my mother, my father could not cope. He ended up being an alcoholic because he could not play the role of being a father and a mother to us. We want fathers to be strong,”she said.
Ms Peter said the dialogues would continue.
Contact Best Dads on 082 625 7133.