Society of African Journal Editors

South African Journal of Sociology

My children, your children, our children? Fathers, female partners and household structures

Authors: Marlize Rabe

Journal: South African Journal of Sociology

The nature of father-child relationships is considered here by focusing on the influence of household structures and current partners on such relationships—especially if children were born from different sexual relationships. The main concern of this article is to examine how men see their fathering roles in different household contexts, such as when they live with the mother of their children, when they do not live with the mother(s) of their biological children, and/ or when they live (or have a relationship) with women who have children from previous relationships. Various father-child-relationships are distinguished, such as fathers who give only financial contributions to the upkeep of children; who live with children on a daily basis; who have sporadic contact with children; and cases where fathers have no contact with their biological children. This research is placed within the context of the South African goldmining industry, based on in-depth interviews with thirty mineworkers conducted during 2002 and 2003.