Experiences of Black South African Single Fathers

Tshisuaka E. Kabongo1, *, Langa Malose1
1 Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Creative Commons License
© 2023 Kabongo and Malose

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa;
Tel: 0844358985; E-mail :



This study aimed to bridge the gap in the literature on parenting by investigating the experiences of Black single fathers living in Johannesburg, who raise children on their own.


Social constructivism and critical theory served as theoretical frameworks, while narrative interviews were used to collect data. The study involved seven Black male participants, who were selected using a snowball sampling method. Dialogical analysis and Bamberg’s little story approach were used to analyse the data collected.


Two themes emerged from the thematic analysis: parenting as a single father and life beyond single fatherhood. The study’s objectives were integrated into the discussion of themes and subthemes that emerged.


The study results revealed that, contrary to the common narrative, not all Black fathers are absent. In addition, it pointed to the fact that single fathers are also capable of being effective parents. However, it was discovered that children benefit the most from the active involvement of both parental figures. Implications for these findings and recommendations for future studies were also discussed.

Keywords: Manhood, Fatherhood, Single fathers, Black fathers, Bamberg’s little story approach, Democratization.