Original Research

Restructuring the Christian Fatherhood Model: A practical theological investigation into the ‘male problematic’ of father absence

Juanita Meyer
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 1 | a4870 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i1.4870 | © 2018 Juanita Meyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 November 2017 | Published: 05 April 2018

About the author(s)

Juanita Meyer, Department of Practical and Missional Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, South Africa

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In South Africa, ideas around fatherhood, parenthood and family life are greatly shifting as people find themselves caught up between traditional and contemporary understandings of fatherhood and motherhood. Even though more than 70% of young South Africans stated in a national survey that parenthood is one of the top four defining features of adulthood, father absence is on the increase. Some in-depth literature study was conducted regarding South African research on fatherhood and father absence, and the role of both Christian churches and secular organisations in addressing some of these challenges brought on by rapidly growing figures of father absence. The article concludes with some suggestions on the development of a new paradigm in understanding fatherhood in South Africa, with special reference to the role of Christian churches in assisting men to construct a narrative around fatherhood, which will lead to satisfying relationships with their children, their partners and especially with God.


Postfoundational notion of Practical Theology; Alternative Narratives; Fatherlessness/ father absence; Patriarchy; Christianity and Churches; Family and Publicising versus privatising


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1. Father absence and adolescents as a challenge to youth ministry
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