57% of South African kids raised without fathers

Washing powder brand claimed 57% of South African kids were raised without fathers.

The statistic was from an infographic by the African Youth Mentorship Network, Henry Muchauraya, the marketing manager for Unilever’s laundry division, told Africa Check. Unilever owns the Omo brand.

The infographic is part of the network’s “Become” campaign, which pairs young boys with mentors for six years to help them “become better men in their societies”.

“Did you know? 57% of South African fathers to children aged 15 years or younger are absent from their lives,” their infographic states. It cites Statistics South Africa’s 2002 General Household Survey as its source.

The figure was calculated from the share of children whose fathers were dead (11.2%) and those whose biological fathers were alive, but absent from the household (45.7%).

Stats SA conducts its General Household Survey every year, so much more recent data is available.

To be considered a resident of a household, a biological father needs to spend “at least four nights on average per week, for four weeks” living there, Stats SA’s deputy director for service delivery statistics, Casment Mahlwele, told Africa Check.

In South Africa’s Children’s Act, a child means a “person under the age of 18 years”.

The 2017 survey found the biological father of 61.8% of children younger than 18 were absent from the household. This is similar to 2016’s figure of 62.2%.

Stats SA’s much larger 2016 Community Survey of 1.3 million households estimated a higher figure of 64.1%. It was made up of 8.7% of children younger than 18 whose father had died and 55.4% whose biological father was alive but didn’t live with them