Over the past few years, I have repeatedly said that there are societal problems that we as South Africans tend to shy away from. We shy away from them because they are controversial and unpopular. Whoever is courageous enough to raise or discuss them in public platforms, is vilified, hounded, and called all sorts of names.
And that name-calling is an utter shame – it is a disgrace. Because what it indicates, is that we are dishonest to ourselves as citizens of South Africa. We only want to hear what sounds good in our ears, and that which does not challenge our beliefs and practices. The issues we avoid talking and doing something about, tend to have a damaging impact on our society, slowing our socioeconomic progress.
One of the ills of South Africa's society that I have been vocal about, and for which I have been attacked for, is the family breakdown – caused by the absence of fathers in homes across the country.
This is an issue at the core of what slows down our socioeconomic progress. Yet, sadly, famed personalities in the media, politics and academia never dare talk much about it.
Very disturbing and heartbreaking statistics were released by Stats SA last week. The statistics show that only 31.7% of black children live with their fathers in South Africa. Compare this to 51.3% for Colored’s, 86.1% for Asian/Indian and 80.2% for Whites.
The numbers on black children should unsettle us all. A great deal of research has been done around the world on the impact of fatherlessness on societies. That research shows that children who grow up without fathers are more likely to go astray in life. Boys are more likely to become criminals and end up in jail, and girls are more likely to fall pregnant in their teens. Both boys and girls are also, more likely to drop out of school.