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Black men cherish their kids, even if it's a struggle

By Mothusi Masemola | 2017-07-16 12:37:35.0

Some fathers are steeped in their children's lives even though the general narrative on the streets seems to be that most are absent dads.

Msebenzi Mabaso, 31, is actively involved with his seven-year-old son despite ending his relationship with the boy' s mother . "We separated [with his mother] last year June. [But] I have chosen to be active in my son's life because I have a responsibility towards him," said Mabaso.

"Another aspect that most men do not realise is that it is important to give a child love. He is young and cannot look after himself."

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Mabaso is a taxi driver who relies on his sister to look after his son during the school holidays when he goes to work.

"My son lives at a boarding school , so I only get to see him during school holidays. This past Easter, I only spent about eight days with him because their holidays are so short," Mabaso said.

"His mom tells me what he needs and I provide. I can see that he needs winter clothes and tracksuits at school, so I must buy those things," he said.

Another father, Thami Motloung, 61, has raised his children as a single parent for the past 15 years. "I have three daughters who are 24, 26 and 29 years old," said Motloung.

"My wife passed away in 2002 after a long illness. My kids were still young and I decided to raise them myself.

"It was because I had seen how some children suffered after their fathers remarried. I did not want anything to happen to them," Motloung said.

"Even though in 2004 I lost my job and it was hard, I used some of my pension money to see that they were cared for."

Sowetan interviewed the fathers after the Outsurance Fathers' Day online advert caused outrage, portraying only white men as doting dads.

However, a third father, a 31-year-old who earns his living washing cars, said he did not remember the year he last saw his six-year-old daughter.

"The last time I saw her she was still being carried," he said.

The man said he was embarrassed to be an absent father because he did not have money.

"My daughter's mother broke up with me because I did not have money [then]. Who wants someone without money?"

However, he also conceded to having an alcohol problem. "I make around R150 per day washing taxis.

I do not have to pay for transport because I get lifts from the taxis. I do not spend money on rent either because I live at my father's place.

"I spend around R60 on dinner and about R40 on beers. I must get some beers. I do want to do better and I sometimes think of my child but I have a problem with alcohol.

"As today is Thursday I am really looking forward to having a few more beers than I normally have," he said.

Another father, traditional healer Themba Sithole, 35, said the last time he saw his three-year-old daughter was two years ago.

"The mother of my child left in February 2015 to go home in Kwa-Zulu Natal to see her other children. She did not come back.

"Whenever I try reaching out to her she changes her phone numbers. She has recently said that I am not the father of the child. She refuses to do blood tests and I cannot pin her or my daughter down," Sithole said.

When the mother left for KZN the pair were no longer in a relationship.