Not all men are fathers.

Some men will always be just males.

Until you have been a “childless father” or watch the Mzansi Magic television series Utatakho you will never know what that means.

You will never know the pain, the emptiness that echoes in the heart of a man who is deprived an opportunity to be a father.

You will never know the hollowness that fills a man’s empty heart when he knows he cannot be a father who can pass something to his absent children.
And you will never know the heartbreak of a man who is haunted by a woman that keeps the children away or uses them as a weapon for revenge.

Some women do not hesitate to use males as sperm donors. Or they simply leave them because they do not live up to their fantasies of Mr Right. They choose not to stay with a man who is not their image of Prince Charming.

People speak only of the male that they have come to see abandon and neglect his children. But not all males are men. All men are born male but they must be willing to become men.

All men wish to be fathers that can contribute to the growth and development of their children.

They may not have the courage to hold a woman’s hand when she gives birth. But it does not mean that they have abandoned the mother and the child.

It is only the male who will turn his back from the woman who cuddled him in love making. The male will leave her for he has neither an emotional bond nor conscience. He exerts power over her by planting his seed in her womb.

For him, this is a mark of his conquest. This is what makes him a male and not a man.

A man will never leave. He will never let go. It is a great burden and responsibility for a male to be a man. There is something that a male must sacrifice and give up to be a man. Not all males are willing to give that up.

But those who rise to become men will want to pass on some emotion, a bond and heritage to their children. It is not clear where this desire comes from but it is what men who wish to be fathers want to do. It is a DNA bond that connects the past, present and future.

Above all, it gives the children and the father a sense of belonging and family. It gives them their identity, self-esteem.

And yet how do you put into the words the pain of a man who is deprived of the opportunity to be a father by the female or his offspring that is turned against him?

We live in times where a lot is said about how males abandon women and children. But nobody speaks of how some men cannot be fathers because they are condemned and rejected by the mothers of their children.

The pain of men who want to be fathers is smothered by the focus and attention given to bitter and angry women. The former can use their children as weapons against the fathers.

Nobody wants to consider or examine the plight or pain of these men.

This suggests that all women are good mothers. There are good women and there are bad women. Just like in men, not all females are women who wish to be mothers. It is not a natural instinct.

Some women do not hesitate to sacrifice both the men and children to express their anger and bitterness at life, especially the males who have left them feeling abandoned and dented their self-worth.

We should speak honestly about the reasons, circumstances and contexts that see men fail to be fathers. There are no easy answers. But we have to delve deep into every man and woman’s soul to explore what makes them succeed or fail to be fathers and mothers.

There are many men who are struggling and yearning to be fathers. They wish to be present to witness the efforts of their children striving upward. These men want to share with their children their own experiences that can help the young avoid any pitfalls in life.

Perhaps it is understandable for a woman to turn her back against her first love. The feeling of rejection can be quite devastating, especially when the man who gave you a child seems to have turned against you. It is so sad that it can make anyone weep tears.

There are broken men out there who want to be fathers.

Much as not all males are men, not all men are fathers. But let us give the love, warmth and opportunity to those men who want to be fathers to be fathers.
No woman should stand between a man and his child. Everyone must choose what is best for his or her children. It is not about the man or woman.
It is about a timeless bond between a man and his children.



Sandile Memela

Sandile Memela is a journalist, writer, cultural critic, columnist and civil servant. He lives in Midrand.

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