The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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Teenage Tata: Voices of young fathers in South Africa provides a fresh and in-depth portrait of impoverished young South African men who became fathers while teenagers. It provides space for their articulate and impassioned voices to be heard amidst the outcry against the absence of fathers, and offers insights into young fathers personal, emotional, financial and cultural struggles as they come to terms with fatherhood. The study highlights young fathers strong sense of responsibility; poignant accounts of emotional engagement with their children and the women in their lives; the motivating power of young fathers own absent fathers on their parenting intentions; their desire for sex- and relationship-education from male family members and their clear recognition of the help they need. Based on a multi-interview qualitative study in the informal settlements and townships around Cape Town and Durban, this monograph offers methodological innovations and showcases how social network interviews offer great potential for both research and intervention.

The Child, Youth, Family and Social Development (CYFSD) research programme of the HSRC aims to promote human and social development through the production of high quality applied research that addresses challenges arising from social inequality, poverty, violence, HIV/AIDS and other causes of ill-health and suffering, and loss of human potential. We research aspects of the life course, from infancy to old age, with an emphasis on understanding how contexts, policies and politics shape and distribute life chances. Throughout the life cycle, people learn, interact and develop within families, social and cultural groups, schools, workplaces, communities, and the economic, political and social orders. Our research focuses on individuals, groups and institutions relating to children, youth, families, and vulnerable populations, including older individuals and people with disabilities.

Product information

Format : 240mm x 168mm (Soft Cover)
Pages : 136
ISBN 10 : 0-79692287-X
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2287-8
Publish Year : 2009
Rights : World Rights

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgements
Terminology
Glossary of colloquial, isiZulu and isiXhosa terms

PART 1 STUDYING YOUNG FATHERS IN IMPOVERISHED COMMUNITIES
1 What we know and need to know about young fathers and fatherhood

  • Young fatherhood and negative life outcomes
  • The absence of studies on young fathers in the developing world
  • The purpose of the study

2 Designing and implementing an ethical phenomenological study

  • The conceptual and methodological framework
  • Data collection, research sample and analysis
  • Using community informants to recruit research participants
  • Research ethics
  • Limitations and challenges of the study

PART 2 THE VOICES OF YOUNG FATHERS
3 ‘Scared, proud, excited, frustrated, stressed’: Coming to terms with being a young father

  • A strong emotional response to the news of fatherhood
  • The meaning of responsibility
  • Reasons for having a child at a young age
  • The impact of the event on young men’s lives
  • Conclusion

4 ‘Being there and providing; that’s my job’: Young fathers’ perspectives on good fathering

  • Becoming a father in the context of absent fathers
  • What it means to be a good father
  • What it takes to be a good father
  • Conclusion

5 Mothers, damages and ‘her family’: Influences, practices and relationships in the life of a young father

  • The role of young fathers’ mothers
  • Young men’s relationships with the child’s mother and her family
  • Cultural practices as obstacles to young fathers’ involvement with their children
  • Conclusion

6 ‘Spare wheels’ and ‘meat to meat’: The meaning of sexual health for impoverished young men

  • Young fathers’ use of condoms and knowledge of contraception
  • The allure of emotional connection through multiple partners
  • The dearth of services and failure of sex education
  • Conclusion

PART 3 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
7 ‘Knowing, working, talking and connecting’: The crucial needs of young fathers

  • A summary of the main findings
  • Young fathers’ recommendations about the help they need
  • Advice to young men who are soon to be fathers
  • Advice to young men to avoid becoming fathers
  • Creating closer ties through social network interviewing: A possible intervention
  • Recommendations for further study

Appendix 1 Interview schedules
Appendix 2 Consent forms
References

The innovative methodology adopted with the incorporation of social networks as a research tool and the research assistance and voices of the teenage fathers within this study, is discussed in this final part of the five part podcast package. Dr Sharlene Swartz discusses issues of culture, hierarchies and communities within the context of teenage fathers in South Africa.

Duration: 4 min 51 sec

Dr Sharlene Swartz is a sociologist and researcher at the Child, Youth, Family and Social Development research programme of the Human Sciences Research Council, and a visiting research fellow at the Centre for Commonwealth Education at the University of Cambridge.

Professor Arvin Bhana is a psychologist, the Deputy Executive Director at the Child, Youth, Family and Social Development research programme of the Human Sciences Research Council, and an adjunct associate professor in the School of Psychology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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