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Monday, 25 July 2011 17:09

Teenage Tata: Voices of young fathers in poor communities in SA

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“It’s really hard to be a young father …” – Nhlanhla (18) Over the past two decades there has been a growing focus on teenage or adolescent fathers. Some studies have looked at young fathers from the perspective of young mothers, others have explored young fathers’ own experiences of being fathered. The majority emphasise the links between early fatherhood and negative life outcomes.
However, there is a lack of literature that deals with the experience of young fatherhood itself. And most pertinently for this country, there is a shortage of studies that examine young fatherhood in developing countries, especially in contexts of poverty.

At workshops to be held simultaneously in Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban on Tuesday 08 September 2009, the recent HSRC study into the issues, experiences and policy implications inherent in teenage fatherhood will be launched and discussed.

Teenage Tata: Voices of young fathers in South Africa (HSRC Press) is a groundbreaking publication that begins the conversation of what it means to be poor, young and a father in a developing world context. It investigates how teenagers living in impoverished circumstances feel about fatherhood, the conditions and reasons for their situation, and the ways in which personal, social and environmental circumstances can help or hinder their participation in parenting.

Based on research amongst youth drawn from townships in the Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal, the publication challenges many stereotypes surrounding young fathers, as well as eliciting preliminary data to help define appropriate interventions for them.

Teenage Tata follows on the acclaimed collection Baba: Men and Fatherhood in South Africa, edited by Linda Richter and Robert Morrell (HSRC Press). As such, it is an extension of the work done within the Fatherhood Project of the Child, Youth, Family and Social Development (CYFSD) programme at the HSRC. It sets out to answer two closely-related research questions: How do young men living in poverty experience fatherhood; and what are the factors that help or hinder young men’s engagement in the parenting of their children?

A prominent aspect of Teenage Tata is the importance placed on the perspectives of the teenagers involved in the research. Each chapter voices their views and feelings, creating an atmosphere of authenticity and credibility. There is also a huge sense of vulnerability that emerges from the pages of the publication.

Attention is also given to young fathers’ recommendations to other young fathers, as well as to young men living in impoverished communities, including the need for better sex education, and improved skills development including dealing with responsibility and stress. The chapter also discusses the use of social networking interviews as a way of improving relationships between young fathers, the mothers of their children, and other members of their circle.

Providing compelling data and well illustrated with the words of its protagonists, Teenage Tata: Voices of young fathers in South Africa makes a startling and vitally important contribution to the subject of fatherhood in South Africa. Contrary to mainstream perceptions, many young fathers do actually want to participate and take responsibility for their children. Hopefully, data such as this can be used to improve the circumstances hindering their involvement.

Teenage Tata: Voices of young fathers in South Africa is published by the HSRC Press.

Copies of all of HSRC Press published titles are available from leading booksellers nationally, and from the online bookshop at

For a media review copy of the publication or more information on the workshops, contact:

Karen Bruns
Marketing Manager
HSRC Press

Tel: +27 21 466 8022
Fax: +27 21 461 0836
Mobile: 083 231 8326
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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