; Dads’ paternity leave must be a victory for the child – The Citizen

Dads’ paternity leave must be a victory for the child

Picture: Supplied

Picture: Supplied

The issue of the absent father is one that has permeated society, almost becoming a normality in the era of the woke and enlightened.

Working South African dads are now entitled to 10 days of paternity leave.

President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Labour Relations and Labour Amendment Acts into law on Friday.

What a victory this is if it will translate into more active parenting from fathers than merely 10 rest days away from the monotony of a working environment.

It’s high time the South African father stepped up to the plate.

The issue of the absent father is one that has permeated society, almost becoming a normality in the era of the woke and enlightened.

Our parents and their parents could argue that the legislation of apartheid is the reason for the split in the family unit – but what is my generation’s reason for the gaping wound that is the absent dad?

There is a repetition of an unhealthy cycle by a generation that not only does no better, but continues to elect to not do better.

What is most disturbing about our generation – both the learned and even those who are not formally educated, but have life experiences that are themselves a lesson – is that while they may celebrate the arrival of a bundle of joy, too many of these bundles grow up to never know the love of a father.

This is invariably in the emotional, financial and the developmental sphere.

Fathers are so absent from their children’s lives that there is no shock when a child says they don’t know a father’s love.

The biggest gripe for me as a mother, daughter, a rights activist and a feminist is that the role of a mother is then reduced to having to play musical chairs in maintenance courts, begging a man to provide for his offspring.

Has sex education in schools escaped us, the dishing out of free condoms not a deterrent to unplanned and unwanted pregnancies?

There are organisations that seek to educate and inform both mothers and fathers on the difficulties of rearing a child.

They are not fighting for the men or women … they are fighting for the rights and quality of life of children.

Kekeletso Nakeli-Dhliwayo.

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