Let me congratulate former editor Ryland Fisher for giving up a powerful position in society to focus on keeping his family together.
From the little one can pick up from his decision to quit, Fisher – like millions of other men in SA – had to stay away from his family for almost two years because he desired to fulfil his ambition of being one of SA’s and the continent’s leading editors.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with ambition and a desire to contribute to society but this always comes at a huge price to the family. He was away from the women he had committed to spend his life with and did not see his children much except when he could run away for a weekend.
Considering the strain families are taking we have to commend Fisher for putting his family first and encourage other men to do the same. In fact it is partners and wives who need to insist their men come back home. The home is the cornerstone of a socially cohesive society.
Strong, solid and loving families in SA are undermined by an outdated desire to be heroes and providers – notions that promote patriarchy and male domination.
What makes this worse is the absence of partners and women who do not insist that the love of family comes first. Nothing should come before the love of family as it is the cornerstone of a strong nation. If the family unit is weak, the nation will be weak.
There is a lack of women’s voices or organisations to educate boy children and men about their obligation to their families and people they claim to love. We need stronger voices that talk to men about what they owe their families: love. Love is the only reason why we’re here on earth.
These weaknesses have made it easy for money, power, status and ambition to bring with it the elevation of politics, the struggle or success as the most important thing in a man’s life. If you really think about it you realise that the families of some of the greatest heroes of the struggle were broken. The African community has passively absorbed the notion that a man can abandon his family for the struggle for freedom or to take a powerful position and thus make more money.
Some women want men who are somebodies, who are heroes and big names in business, politics, sports or religion. This promotes the notion that it’s okay for a man to pursue his dreams, first, before he can give love. This makes building a solid and strong family unit a secondary matter.
The family has become a threatened species, over 50% of children grow up without their families.
Until our women put the love of family on the agenda and address this obsession with success — measured by money, position, power, status – there’s very little hope we can get out of the trap of corruption, selfishness and greed.
Commitments to the struggle and pursuit of success have undermined the establishment of strong, solid and loving families. Of course colonialism and apartheid, the discovery of gold and diamonds, especially the Land Act of 1913, was at the heart of breaking up African families. Men were forced to abandon their families to be slaves in their own country.
It’s time women tell it like it is. They must challenge the decisions their men take in the name of love. This is what misleads men to think they are born to be providers. Men are on earth to give and spread love to their women, children and families. Period!