Non-resident black fathers in South Africa

SOURCE: Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): T.Makusha, L.Richter
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9029
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/1576

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South Africa has one of the highest rates of non-resident fathers in Africa, after Namibia, with only about a third of preschool children co-residing with their fathers. Father absence is attributed to, variously, labor migration, violence, abandonment, AIDS, violent and accident-related paternal deaths, poverty and unemployment. Popular assertions and policy proposals tend to make the linked assumptions between father absence and lack of support for children. However, given that most Africans in the southern African region live within a network of extended family relations, having children living apart from fathers, especially due to migrant labor does not automatically mean that the children are being neglected or not being cared for by their fathers, especially given that most migrant laborers return their earnings to their families in the form of remittances. Nor does it equate to a break in social connectedness between a father and child. Father's physical location and child involvement are two separate dimensions of father connection to his children.