An interest in family dynamics led to Nokwanele Mhlongo doing research on the effects of absent fathers on families and childcare responsibilities.
She specifically focused on the perspectives and experiences of fathers aged between 18 and 24.
Mhlongo says there is a remarkably high number of absent but living fathers in South Africa. "Considering the socio-economic conditions of this country, there are certain factors that hinder paternal involvement," Mhlongo explained.
"The youth unemployment rate is sitting at 55.2% resulting in the challenging environment South African men find themselves in as fathers. They try but sometimes fail to fill the perceived role of a father as a financial provider."
Her research findings revealed that young fathers had negative experiences of fatherhood while growing up, as many of them had absent fathers. Despite this, the findings underscored that young fathers want to be more involved, and better than their biological fathers.