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Fighting Fatherlessness: Farther a nation urges support for responsible fatherhood as a key for the future of SA's youth


As South Africa (SA) commemorates both National Youth Day and Father’s Day on June 16, Father A Nation (FAN) is calling on policy makers and society at large to prioritise and support fathers in their critical roles as parents, role models, leaders, and nation-builders. The absence of positive male influence and the prevalence of destructive masculine behaviour are significant societal issues that have far-reaching impact, contributing to broken families, crime, poverty and poor leadership and a crippled nation.

“The youth of today, are the leaders of tomorrow, their development hinges on strong, positive influences,” says Craig Wilkinson, CEO and founder of FAN, a leading Non-Profit Company (NPC) dedicated to combating fatherlessness and equipping men to live with positive masculinity.

SA’s recent 2024 elections have highlighted grave concerns around corruption and a lack of effective leadership, which are symptoms of deeper issues in the moral fibre of society, Wilkinson highlights that strong, responsible fathers are foundational for building a safer, better society.

"We are at a pivotal moment in our country's history," says Wilkinson. “The harsh realities of toxic masculinity and fatherlessness contribute to moral bankruptcy and a host of destructive behaviours among boys and men. By addressing these issues, we can raise good men and leaders who will positively contribute to families, society and the future of our country.”

Research has shown a clear and undeniable link between fatherlessness and major social issues such as violent crime, corruption, gender-based violence, low education outcomes and mental illness. Good fathers and positive masculine behaviour are the antidote to all of this, transforming lives and building strong communities.


Despite prevailing social ills, SA has seen a growing awareness of the significance of fathers and father figures, where responsible fatherhood and positive masculinity is increasingly recognised as crucial in how societies develop for the better. “A growing number of men are willing to start changing the narrative of father absenteeism, but the widening economic disparities in the country mean that many of these fathers will need support at policy level to meet their responsibilities as providers and caregivers,” says Wilkinson.


According to the Human Sciences Research Council, over 60% of children in South Africa don’t live with their biological fathers, and 20% only have contact with their biological father twice a week. Tragically this has become a self-perpetuating cycle as boys who grew up without fathers become fathers themselves.


“Many of today's young fathers’ express grief over never having known their own fathers and blame their absence and destructive behaviour on the lack of male role models teaching and modelling fatherhood and positive masculinity to them in their formative years.” adds Wilkinson.  SA is further ailed by low rates of paternal maintenance and high rates of male abuse and neglect, perpetuating an environment where boys grow up to be wounded men.

Photo: Craig Wilkinson

FAN believes that when fathers are supported in being present and engaged parents, the benefits extend far beyond individual families. "The positive influence of involved fathers on children's development, families’ well-being, communities and the country as a whole cannot be overstated," says Wilkinson.  


“The path to lasting societal change begins by fostering a culture of integrity within the family unit from an early age, laying the foundation for a thriving and equitable society and creating a ripple effect of positive change that will benefit the entire nation,” says Wilkinson.


“As we celebrate National Youth Day and Father's Day, let us appreciate and recognise the valuable role of fathers in our lives and communities. Let’s us also collectively strive for a future where society holds men and fathers to higher standards and upholds their role in raising better leaders who build thriving communities,” Wilkinson concludes.  

On a mission to raise the next generation of men to build a safe and prosperous South Africa, FAN has been running mentorship programmes, educational workshops, and community initiatives across the country in communities, schools, colleges and corporates since 2010. FAN is actively calling on individuals and organisations to partner in these crucial initiatives.

For more information about FAN and how to get involved, please email or visit


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