The short of it is, South Africa is screwed. You've got a large proportion of the black population, 70% growing up without a father figure mirroring the situation in most black countries and black communities where most black males do not accept responsibility for their spawn. Coupled with the financial inducements to young girls to get pregnant by an overweaning government and you have a recipe for disaster, the fruits of which we witness every single day with black youths committing most crimes and causing the most mayhem. There's no fixing this, at least not by the ANC. It's a circular problem, to be repeated over and over again.
The Changing Face Of the South African Family
An estimated 40% of South Africa’s 18 million children are being raised by single mothers as the nature of the country’s traditional family changes.
Seven million children are growing up with single mothers, outnumbering the 6.8 million — about 23% of the country’s children — who live with both parents.
Indian children are most fortunate, with 82% living with both parents. White children follow closely at 80%, but 52% of coloured kids and almost seven out of 10 Africans grow up without a father figure in the house.
These findings are reported in the South African Institute of Race Relations’ latest Fast Facts survey on SA families.
The institute’s director, John Kane-Berman, said: “It is now widely recognised that most public schooling in South Africa is in dire straits. But so is family life. Can one be fixed without the other?
If we cannot fix education and family life, can we combat crime?
What will be the costs in lost growth, jobs and hope?”
The survey found that more than half — 52% — of African mothers in urban areas are single, followed by coloureds (30%), whites (24%) and Indians (7%). Whites have the highest number of divorced or separated women over the age of 30 at 7.7%, followed by Indians at 5.9%, coloureds at 5% and Africans at 2.5%.
But the number of women who never married in the same age group was highest among Africans (39.5%) and coloureds (26.2%), with Indians and whites lagging behind significantly at 3.1 %.
Africans had the highest number of living absent fathers at 50.2%, followed by coloureds (37%), whites (10.9%) and Indians (8.4%).
Experts say the new phenomenon, more prevalent in developed countries like the UK and US, has started to replace the traditional norm and poses a risk of breeding a dysfunctional society.
The survey, which draws on data collated from various research institutions from 2002 to 2007, also raises the problem of child-headed households, said to encompass 23% of South Africa’s children.
Child-headed households — where the head of the family is 17 years and younger — grew from 118000 to 148000 between 2002 and 2007 because of the Aids scourge, and the number of orphans who have lost both parents have doubled from 352000 to 701000.
African children made up 146000 of child-headed households, with coloureds the rest. There were no Indian or white child-headed households recorded in 2007. Also, 68% of children lived in poverty, with a household income of only R350 per month. The majority of these were Africans at 75%, coloured (43%) and Indian and white children at 14% and 5% respectively.
SAIRR researcher Gail Eddy said the survey had merely looked at numbers and did not explore their social implications.
“We really don’t know what the status of South African families are. These statistics are just a starting point. Further research could show us what the future holds for the SA family,” said Eddy.
The study was released last year by the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics
A recent study into the effects of family breakdown in the UK, where 24% of children are raised by single parents, found that the most common negative effects of single parenting are behavioural problems, underachievement at school, mental health problems, alcohol and drug abuse, and the inability to form lasting relationships.
Eddy blamed Aids, migrant labour, divorce and teenage pregnancies for the breakdown of the traditional family structure in South Africa.
She said “families are the nucleus of society because they pass down social values which shape the country”, and that these values were being threatened by the status quo.
Eddy said not enough was being done to preserve family life, with both the state and NGOs falling short in terms of providing support structures. “The government has not done enough; we don’t even have enough social workers,” she said.
Another stand out feature in the survey shows how the number of double orphans had doubled from 352 000 to 701 000, the high number attributed mainly to HIV/Aids.
With South Africa ranked fourth in terms of orphan numbers in Africa, the survey expects the number of orphans to skyrocket to 5.7 million by 2015.
From the UK Study.
A recent United Kingdom study into the effects of family breakdown found that children whose parents separate are twice as likely to suffer damage into adulthood.
Seven of the most common negative effects from single parenting, according to the study, include behavioural problems, gaining fewer educational qualifications, needing more medical treatment, becoming pregnant at an early age and turning to drugs, alcohol and smoking.
Children whose parents separate are twice as likely to under-achieve at school, suffer mental health problems and struggle to form lasting relationships, according to the study.