TK MADWE with his daughter Azande, 3, at the “A Date With My Father” event in Magnolia Dell. Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)
PRETORIA dads rocked their suits and exquisite shoes to take their precious daughters on a “Father and Daughter date” hosted at Huckleberry’s in Magnolia Dell this weekend.

The idea behind the event was to show dads the value of being present in the lives of their children, and the importance of nurturing their girl-children.

Hostess Sibusisiwe Matshisi said the project has been in her heart for quite some time, specifically because of her upbringing as one of five siblings, four of them girls. “Growing up there were a lot of things that my father instilled in me and that helps me in decision-making today. He is the one who set the first model of how a relationship with a man should be.

“Hence, I saw the need to bring fathers together with their daughters to applaud them for the good job they are doing and to talk about how they can possibly shape their daughters' views on men, and the world,” she said.

Siyabulela Jentile, president of #NotInMyName, who attended with his daughter, said it was important to be part of your child’s life, regardless of a busy schedule or not.

“Fathers must avail themselves to guide and protect their families, especially in a country where there is a high rate of abuse against women and children.

“Growing up, at some point my father lost everything he had but that did not change who he was before he had it all. And for me that meant a lot because I appreciated his presence more than the material things he could give me,” Jentile said. "Fatherless Daughter Syndrome", also known as “daddy issues”, is one of the topics that was addressed. It was noted that this is an emotional disorder that stems from issues of trust and lack of self esteem that lead to a cycle of repeated dysfunctional decisions in relationships with men as girls grow up. Sam Mhlongo, who was among the guest speakers, said a girl’s early relationship with her father or father figure shaped her perceptions and expectations of a future partner.

Parents should teach their children how to approach life and relationships, how to express and receive love and how to handle disagreements.

Anele Matshisi also applauded stepfathers who create a space of safety, and guide and nurture children who are not biologically their own.