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By: Finna Kahili

Community and church leader Chinaville Vries has shared the negative impact of fatherlessness on families, stressing the crucial role fathers play in shaping children’s identity and purpose.

Vries was speaking during the One Economy Foundation’s Be Free Campaign, which hosted a Men’s Workshop on Friday in Windhoek. The dialogue aims to open discussion about matters that are important to men, creating a safer and more supportive environment for all.

Vries argues that the absence of a father and male role model during upbringing causes dysfunction in men. He stresses that while mothers are nurturers, they can’t replace the unique influence of male figures in shaping masculinity.

 Vries emphasised fathers’ vital role in shaping children’s identities and values, providing a foundation for purpose, especially for the boy child. Furthermore, he urged men and boys to make a positive impact in society.

“Men are raised by mothers and that causes a dysfunction in the family structure because a man needs a father. A man needs a male role modelwho can teachhim about how to be a man. A man does not need a mother to teach him that, mothers are nurturers. Fathers teach their sons,” said Vries.

Established in memory of his son Joel Parks, Corne Thalwitzer started a foundation to help make a difference in people’s lives. Thalwitzer shared his story of dealing with grief and addiction after losing his son, which led him to question his  purpose in life. However, overcoming these challenges helped him realise the potential to create a positive impact.

” I could not make my mind still, (I) always have that thought that your child is gone. I started drinking, I was a workaholic, and I started using drugs. I would stay away from my house for three days, using crack (spending) N$30 000, smoking for three days,” narrated Thalwitzer.

Gender Equality Practitioner, Ngamane Karuaihe-Upi urged young men not to be ignorant and encouraged them to find ways to grow.

The Constructive Masculinity Dialogue event allowed men to openly discuss issues and promote healthy masculinity through testimonials and discussions.