The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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Baba: Men and Fatherhood in South Africa provides answers to some of the most difficult questions about fatherhood in South Africa: Who is a father? What does it mean to be a father? Is it important for fathers to do more for children in a world that assumes that mothers take the primary parenting role? Do different people understand fatherhood in different ways? What evidence is there of new fatherhood styles emerging in South Africa?

Authors from a range of backgrounds and disciplines break new ground as they explore the centrality of fatherhood in the lives of men and in the experiences of children. They show how fathers involvement contributes to the well-being of children. The authors argue that men can make a major contribution to the health of South African society by caring for children and producing a new generation of South Africans for whom men will be significant by their positive presence rather than by their absence or their abuse.

In this collection, authors examine the conceptual and theoretical questions posed and attempt to map the field. In the second section, fathers and fatherhood are examined from an historical perspective, showing how race and class have shaped fatherhood in South Africa, and how understandings of fatherhood have changed over time.
In the third section, authors discuss the way in which fathers appear in the media, how men as fathers are often ignored or portrayed in narrow ways which inhibit alternative forms of fatherhood emerging.
In the fourth section, authors offer answers to how men experience fatherhood and what obstacles bar men from expanding their engagement with children. Finally, the book offers examples of local and international programs that have been initiated to promote fatherhood and to work with fathers.
Open Access

Product information

Format : 168mm x 240mm (Soft Cover)
Pages : 416
ISBN 10 : 0-7969-2096-6
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2096-6
Publish Year : 2006
Rights : World Rights

Acronyms and abreviations
Opening lines

  1. Introduction
    Robert Morrell
  2. Fathers, fatherhood and masculinity in South Africa
    Robert Morrell
  3. On being a father and poor in southern Africa today
    Francis Wilson
  4. The demographics of fatherhood in South Africa: An analysis of survey data, 19932002
    Dorrit Posel and Richard Devey
  5. The importance of fathering for children
    Linda Richter

Fatherhood in historical perspective

  1. Migrancy, family dissolution and fatherhood
    Mamphele Ramphele and Linda Richter
  2. The state as non-biological father: Exploring the experience of fathering in a South African state institution in the period 1950 to 1970
    Azeem Badroodien
  3. Fathers without amandla: Zulu-speaking men and fatherhood
    Mark Hunter
  4. Men and children: Changing constructions of fatherhood in Drum magazine 19511965
    Lindsay Clowes

Representations and roles

  1. The father in the mind
    Graham Lindegger
  2. Where have all the fathers gone? Media(ted) representations of fatherhood
    Jeanne Prinsloo
  3. Representations of fatherhood in black US films: and how this relates to parenting in South Africa
    Solani Ngobeni
  4. Childrens views of fathers
    Linda Richter and Wendy Smith
  5. Fatherhood from an African cultural perspective
    Desmond Lesejane
  6. African traditions and the social, economic and moral dimensions of fatherhood
    Nhlanhla Mkhize

Being a father in South Africa today

  1. Legal aspects of fatherhood in South Africa
    Jacqui Gallinetti
  2. Men, work and parenting
    Alan Hosking
  3. HIV/AIDS and the crisis of care for children
    Chris Desmond and Cos Desmond
  4. Absent fathers: Why do men not feature in stories of families affected by HIV/AIDS in KwaZulu Natal?
    Philippe Denis and Radikobo Ntsimane
  5. Being a father in a mans world: The experience of goldmine workers
    Marlize Rabe
  6. Fathers don't stand a chance: experiences of custody, access, and maintenance
    Grace Khunou

Local and international policies and programmes

  1. The new gender platforms and fatherhood
    Dean Peacock and Mbuyiselo Botha
  2. The childs right to shared parenting
    Patrice Engle, Tom Beardshaw and Craig Loftin
  3. Taking forward work with men in families
    Tom Beardshaw


Professor Linda Richter is Executive Director of the Child, Youth, Family and Social Development research programme of the HSRC. She is also the Chair of Psychology and an elected Fellow of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She holds an Honorary Professorship in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and is a consultant in the HIV Prevention Trials Unit at the Medical Research Council, Durban.

Prof. Richter obtained her PhD at the University of Natal and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Universities of London, Edinburgh and Nottingham, doing specialised study in child and adolescent development. She has conducted both basic and policy research in the fields of child and youth development as applied to health, education, welfare and social development and has published more than 100 papers in these and related fields.

Professor Robert Morrell studied at the Universities of Rhodes, Witwatersrand and Natal where he gained B.Journ, BA Hons, MA and PhD degrees. He taught in the Departments of History at the University of Transkei (1982-1984) and Durban-Westville (1985-1988). Since 1989 he has been a member of the School of Education at the University of Natal (KwaZulu-Natal). He teaches courses on gender and education at Honours and Masters levels and supervises many masters and doctoral students. He is also involved in the Gender Studies Programme and, from time to time, participates in the teaching programmes of the Medical School. His research interests are concentrated in the area of gender studies. Here his major focus is on masculinity - he edited 'Changing Men in Southern Africa' (University of Natal Press/Zed Books, Pietermaritzburg/London, 2001) which won the 2002 University of Natal Prize for Edited Books. He is an advisory board member of the US journal, 'Men and Masculinities' and a consulting editor for the Routledge Encyclopaedia on Men and Masculinity.

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