Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
3 minute read
24 Dec 2020
8:50 am

‘As I was growing up I realised it’s not only me’ – chronicles of a fatherless son

Sandisiwe Mbhele

In 'Chronicles of a fatherless son', author Patrick Mabiletsa details his journey of finding his father and how not having a father impacted his life.

Picture: iStock

Conversations over the years had been had over the raising and norm of fatherless children in South Africa, particularly the intermediate link of the actions of sons with no fathers. The dialogue has changed to the glaring nature of this and how new generations want to change this.

Author of five books, Patrick Neo Mabiletsa, tackled this topic in his own personal account – Chronicles Of A Fatherless Son. Mabiletsa writes about how growing up with a single mother helped shape who he is, expressing that life was comfortable but there was a missing piece.

As an aspiring writer several years ago, he always found it important to delve into motivation, love and life lessons.

Mabiletsa says during childhood with no father he had a lot of questions, such as where is his dad and why he wasn’t in his life. “As I was growing up I realised it’s not only me, there was a majority of us who are struggling with not having fathers. When I did my research I realised that many households are fatherless. Some of the fathers who are there, are not active in their child’s or children’s lives.”

Wanting answers himself, the author added he very much had an appetite to search for his father. The book details whether Mabiletsa’s quest to find what he had been longing for succeeded.

Book ‘Chronicles of a fatherless son.’ Picture: Supplied

“From generation to generation it has hurt men more than you can imagine. I recall someone who was in tears thinking of the lack of relationship they had with their father. We should ask ourselves how bad do things get that man to man some can’t say I love you or father their children.”

Mabilseta believes the migrant culture during the apartheid era has carried on in some communities, with fathers working away from home and only seeing their families once to twice a year. Now being a father himself, the motivational speaker and life coach is very much against the patriarchal upbringing that “boys need to toughen up”.

“There is one thing I stress in the book, when both parents are present in the child’s upbringing, a child can see how the father treats the mother. If he is abusive the children see that a boy sees that. He can be brought up to think that is okay, so being fatherless isn’t a predetermination of an abusive man, but there is a connection.”

Mabiletsa says he was surprised while writing his book that there are many mentorship programmes for the boy child, disapproving his perception that there weren’t enough.

“We are so used to the narrative that boys aren’t meant to talk about how they feel. But what I saw with these programmes is that boys are willing to talk about their emotions and the struggles they are facing. What we need is more of these programmes in townships, opening the conversation in more disadvantaged communities.”

What he hopes for the book is for people, not just men, to consciously raise their children different if they came from a bad upbringing.

“Being a present parent is so important and being a loving parent too.”

Patrick Mabiletsa, author of ‘Chronicles of a fatherless son’. Picture: Supplied

Excerpt from the book:

“Imagine someone who never knew their dad, a son who doesn’t even know how to change a tyre because he had no one to teach them, a son who is not responsible or trained or rather I say a son who has no self-discipline due to his father’s absence.

“With one of the highest migrant labour countries in Africa, fathers have to travel long distances to seek jobs so they can put food on the table and clothes on their children’s backs, and that’s why I stated that some of the fathers do not have a choice but to separate from their kids.”

To purchase Chronicles Of A Fatherless Son contact 071 957 4623.

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